SEWARD, Neb. – Pin to pin, the power game dominated for the Concordia University volleyball team in its first home GPAC match of 2016. It didn’t even seem fair at times, like when senior Tiegen Skains blistered 11 kills on her first 13 swings. The offensive showcase propelled the Bulldogs to a 25-18, 25-20, 25-21, victory over visiting College of Saint Mary on Wednesday night.
The missile firing Bulldogs hit .376 on the night and won for the eighth time in their past nine matches and for the 33rd time over their last 41 home contests. Fifth-year head coach Scott Mattera’s squad improved to 9-7 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
“Tiegen took three swings that she didn’t get kills on, so she really needs to step up her game,” Mattera quipped in his postgame chat on 104.9 Max Country. “Yeah, she was pretty silly tonight. Alayna (Kavanaugh) was putting her in really good position. If Tiegen’s one-on-one and has a full approach, it’s game over. That’s against anybody. We’re very happy to hit .376 against a team that’s that good defensively.”
The dynamic left and right attacking duo of Paige Getz and Skains showed no mercy while smashing passes from Kavanaugh, a fellow senior. Even when the Flames knew it was coming, they still couldn’t stop it. Kavanaugh sprayed the ball around in helping Skains rack up 12 kills (15 attempts) and facilitating 10 Getz kills (26 attacks). In the middle, Emmie Noyd needed only 10 swings to power down six kills.
Defensively, Jocelyn Garcia may not have produced the eye-popping, point-finishing highlights, but she was every bit as productive. On the heels of back-to-back GPAC defensive player of the week awards, the native of Brighton, Colo., dug up 20 more attacks.
While holding a gift for Annie Friesen, who celebrated a birthday on Wednesday, Garcia said she just wants to make this a special year for the seniors. From the back row, Garcia had a great view of the 45 kills piled up by Bulldog hitters.
“My confidence is really high with the girls,” Garcia said. “We’re just a really good team right now. With Tiegen, Paige and Alayna – I want them to have a good year. I’m just playing for them. Tiegen and Paige are on, obviously. They were getting kills left and right.”
College of Saint Mary (5-4, 1-2 GPAC) hit .120 and was topped by the 10 kills from Dani Carlson. Wednesday’s battle was a rematch of a 2015 GPAC semifinal that went in Concordia’s favor in four sets. This year’s Flames squad owns a conference win over Morningside.
Kavanaugh finished with 42 assists. Alex La Plant added nine kills and 12 digs and Taylor Workman contributed six kills. The Bulldogs hit .294 or better in all three sets, topping out at .429 in the opening set. Concordia trailed only briefly early on in the first and third sets. It rattled off the first six points of the second set.
The Bulldogs will be back at home on Saturday to continue conference action against an improving Morningside (10-2, 2-1 GPAC) program. First serve is set for 5 p.m. CT for a match that will be covered by the Concordia Sports Network. Concordia has won three-straight meetings with the Mustangs.