Strongest performance of 2021 propels No. 19 Bulldogs

Strongest performance of 2021 propels No. 19 Bulldogs
September 19th, 2021 | By Sam Firminhac, Athletic Communications

HASTINGS, Neb. – The Concordia University Volleyball team traveled to Hastings College on Saturday (Sept. 18) while making its second GPAC road trip of the season. The 19th-ranked Bulldogs made quick work of the Broncos, sweeping them in three sets, 25-19, 25-22, 22-15. Concordia hit the ball with efficiency, racking up 46 kills and a .363 hitting percentage, all while holding Hastings to a .125 hitting percentage.

The Bulldogs have been sharp as of late, winning four-straight matches, only dropping one set in the four-game span. Concordia improves to 8-5 (3-2 GPAC) while Hastings slips to 11-6 (2-3 GPAC).

Concordia got hot early and didn’t look back. Said Head Coach Ben Boldt, “I think we were mentally tough coming out right off the bat and finished through the set really well. For me, it was more about concentration and mental toughness than it was about volleyball skill. We came out sharp and went up 5-1 to start off the match. We were making really good choices with our attacks and working hard to put ourselves in a good position as attackers. When you do that, the shots open up for you. That was fun to see.”

It took more than just one Bulldog player to complete the dominant win. Camryn Opfer paced the victors with 11 kills and a match high 11 digs. Gabi Nordaker pulverized seven kills, hitting .500 in the process. Tara Callahan was also a key player with 39 assists to go along with seven digs and three kills. The Bulldogs had five players with seven or more kills, including Erica Heinzerling (nine), Carly Rodaway (nine) and Kalee Wiltfong (seven). Rodaway put forth another strong performance after sparking Wednesday’s win over Doane.

“There is always competition that is happening,” Boldt said. “It’s fun to see different players respond. It’s been fun to see that evolution to have a player make a mistake and then readjust, refocus and be successful on the next play. There was a lot of that happening today. It was a total team effort. “We probably had our best match of the year. I was proud of our blocking and our defense today. I think our serving could have been better, but defensively I thought we were really tight.”

The Broncos were led by senior Emily Krolikowski who had 11 kills. Hastings’ GPAC wins have come over Doane and Mount Marty. Concordia has now won three of the last four matchups with the Broncos.

The Bulldogs now get set to travel to Yankton, S.D., on Wednesday. The Lancers, who are 6-8 (0-5 GPAC), have already met with Concordia earlier in the season. The Bulldogs won the first meeting in three sets. Wednesday’s match is set to start at 7:30 p.m. CT.

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