SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – The Concordia University volleyball team fought valiantly down the stretch of the regular season to earn its way into the eight-team GPAC tournament that opened up Saturday evening (Nov. 3). As the eighth seed, the Bulldogs were rewarded with a trip to Sioux Center, Iowa, for a tussle with No. 1 seed Dordt. The Defenders marched on to the semifinals with a 25-12, 25-18, 25-20, win inside De Witt Gymnasium.
For first-year head coach Ben Boldt’s squad, the loss means that the offseason has now begun. Concordia has concluded the 2018 season with an overall record of 15-12.
“Dordt jumped out on top of us,” Boldt said in a postgame interview with 104.9 Max Country. “They served really well and got us out of system. It wasn’t for a lack of effort what we were doing tonight. We fought hard. They just executed a whole lot better than we did.
“They are by far the most fundamentally sound team in the GPAC and they showed it tonight. We had a tough time getting around their block.”
A national title contender that blazed through the GPAC regular season without a defeat, fifth-ranked Dordt (25-2) has yet to cool off. The Defenders hit .684 in the opening set on Saturday and then .500 in the second set. It was an especially dominant individual effort from Ally Krommendyk, who put down nine kills (.750) and was in on seven of the team’s 12 blocks. Teammate Leah Kamp led all players with 10 kills on the evening.
The third set was clearly the most competitive. Erin Johnson dropped in back-to-back aces to get the Bulldogs within one point (9-8). They eventually evened it up (14-14) before Dordt regained the lead for good. Kamp ultimately ended the match with a kill that was facilitated by standout setter Jamie De Jager (33 assists).
Kara Stark topped Concordia with eight kills while Emmie Noyd added six. Habegger recorded three kills in the final collegiate match of her career. There just wasn’t the firepower to keep up with the Defenders, who outhit the Bulldogs, .337 to .000. Dordt also had advantages in kills (40-23), digs (37-23) and blocks (12-1).
While the season has come to an end, Concordia will enter 2019 hoping to build upon its strong finish to the regular season. Habegger and Kelsey Baarck were the lone seniors on this year’s varsity roster.