MITCHELL, S.D. – The Concordia University Volleyball team will want to flush the results from a long weekend road trip up north. After falling in straight sets at Jamestown on Friday, the Bulldog comeback bid came up short at Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday (Oct. 17). The Tigers put up the final three points of the match to edge out Concordia, 22-25, 25-18, 25-21, 15-25, 15-12, inside the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D.
The Bulldogs (7-3 GPAC) are left in a tough position as it relates to the GPAC regular-season title. Third-year Head Coach Ben Boldt’s squad will have to regroup next week.
“Anything can happen in the GPAC,” Boldt said. “We need to own who we are and look in the mirror and go back to work. We have to keep working on our rhythm and connection. I trust that our team wants to be great and will work to have a solution-oriented mindset when we get back.”
Dakota Wesleyan (9-6, 5-6 GPAC) is no pushover. It had taken a game from both Jamestown and Northwestern and defeated Midland in four sets earlier this season. On this particular evening, the statistics were strikingly even across the board. Ultimately, the Tigers were a bit cleaner down the stretch. With the fifth set tied, 12-12, Concordia was bitten by a service error and an attack error. Ady Dwight then polished it off with the match-clinching kill.
If only the Bulldogs could have bottled up their performance in the fourth set and it unleashed it all night. In the fourth, Concordia racked up 15 kills with just one error (while hitting .500). That was a major contrast to the fifth set when the Bulldogs accumulated seven attack errors. Concordia outnumbered DWU in kills, 64-60, but had a lesser hitting percentage (.272 – .223).
Four Bulldogs posted 10 or more kills: Gabi Nordaker (19), Kalee Wiltfong (15), Camryn Opfer (12) and Kara Stark (10). Nordaker also added five blocks. Other team leaders included Tara Callahan in assists (57), Marissa Hoerman in digs (20) and Tristin Mason in aces (four). Concordia registered 12 aces to eight service errors. On the other side of the net, the Tigers notched only one ace, but also just three service errors.
Dwight paced her squad with 17 kills (and seven total blocks). Mariah Gloe contributed 15 kills while Mackenzie Miller added 11. Dakota Wesleyan (4-12 in the GPAC in 2019) has surpassed its conference win total from a year ago.
The Bulldogs will have an opportunity to right themselves on Tuesday when they play at College of Saint Mary (7-5, 2-5 GPAC). First serve will be at 7:30 p.m. CT in Omaha. Concordia won both of last season’s meetings. The Flames, who fell at Morningside on Saturday, qualified for the 2019 national tournament.