BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – While wrapping up the Baker University Invitational, the sixth-ranked Concordia University Volleyball team closed the week on a high note. Gabi Nordaker enjoyed a big day in the middle while leading the Bulldogs to straight-sets victories over No. 18 Ottawa University (Kan.) and Missouri Valley College. Concordia owned massive hitting percentage advantages in both matches.
This was the way Head Coach Ben Boldt would have hoped his team would play heading back into the conference grind next week. The Bulldogs (6-5, 1-2 GPAC) fell to Columbia College (Mo.) in five sets on Friday before Saturday’s rebound.
“We stayed true to who we are and we’re going to continue to grow through the losses and whatever adversity we face – and really find out who we are,” Boldt said. “It was good to see them have a good result today.
“Our defense was disciplined and offensively we were making good choices. We played clean volleyball, which is something we’re always talking about. We have to serve well, we have to play defense well and our attackers need to be driving to the ball. I think we did all of those things. When we faced adversity, we made it to the next play mentally.”
The numbers tell the tale of a dominant day in Baldwin City, Kan. The Bulldogs outhit Ottawa, .291 to .139, and out-attacked Missouri Valley, .424 to .153. Concordia’s ability to stay in system yielded major production for Nordaker, who piled up 13 kills (.550) against Ottawa and another 11 (.600) versus Missouri Valley. As a sign of how efficient the Bulldogs were on Saturday, they hit no worse than .200 in any of the six sets and allowed their opponents to reach the 20-point mark in only one set.
In the afternoon victory, Camryn Opfer also added 13 kills and eight digs. Meanwhile, Tara Callahan posted 41 assists and 11 digs, Erica Heinzerling floored nine kills and Cassidy Knust contributed nine digs. Ayona Tharps paced the Braves (3-4) with 12 kills.
In the weekend capper, Opfer and Nordaker shared the team high with 11 kills apiece. Opfer needed only 24 swings to reach that number from the outside. Callahan added to a solid day with 37 more assists, 11 digs and three blocks. Heinzerling notched 10 kills and Carly Rodaway chipped in with eight. In service, Rebecca Gebhardt accounted for half of the team’s 10 aces versus Missouri Valley (5-9). No Viking player managed to put away more than seven kills.
It will be conference play for the remainder of the regular season. The Bulldogs will welcome Doane (12-3, 1-2 GPAC) to Friedrich Arena on Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. CT matchup. Concordia will carry a six-match series win streak over the Tigers into the contest.