The Sower Logo

Home Sports Bulldog volleyball stays focused and aggressive, sweeps Dakota Wesleyan Saturday afternoon

Photo description: Senior Camryn Opfer mid-spike

Photo credit: Esther Molina

Darien Semedo

Sower Staff


The No. 1 Concordia Bulldogs (17-0, 10-0 GPAC) swept the Dakota Wesleyan Tigers (15-11, 5-5 GPAC) 3-0 Saturday afternoon in Friedrich Arena on the heels of big Friday night win, showing strong mental focus and high aggression.

The Bulldogs came out the gates fast on offense and defense Saturday afternoon. Just one night off a signature win over the Jamestown Jimmies, the Bulldogs showed no signs of sluggishness or complacency. In the first, the Bulldogs hit from all sides efficiently (.486), while limiting the Tigers (.037). Head Coach Ben Boldt was proud of the way the Bulldogs showed no signs of slowing down after the big night.

“It’s tough to come in after a high energy night and then refocus and reset for an afternoon game; it’s a quick turnaround. I was real happy about our focus when we came in. We stayed aggressive, so that was my main takeaway from today,” Boldt said.

Throughout the game Concordia found the ground on early attacks, resulting in a landslide difference in total kills (56-22). The attack was balanced as usual, with five Bulldogs over eight kills. Junior Gabi Nordaker led with 15, while sophomore Ashley Keck and senior Camryn Opfer added 10 apiece. Junior Carly Rodaway and freshman Maddie Paulsen added eight each as well, with senior Bree Burtwistle setting up the front with 44 assists. Paulsen spoke about her role as a freshman and the frontlines connection with Burtwistle, who has had a stellar season to this point.

“I think our chemistry with Bree and stuff really helps. We practice together, and it has really helped,” Paulsen added. “I’m pretty much playing for everyone else; we have a lot of fifth-years and a lot of returning seniors so I’m playing for them and doing the best I can.”

The Bulldogs muddled through the second and early third set before closing out the Tigers in the 3rd with an 8-1 run. The combination of efficiency (.320 hit pct), solid blocking (7.0) and quality digs (71), led to the Tigers having a .078 hitting percentage on the afternoon.

Camryn Opfer led the team in digs with 17, with Ashely Keck right behind at 15. Opfer is in her fifth year at Concordia and has had a decorated tenure, including being top five in school history for career digs and kills. Her versatility and leadership have been immeasurable for the Bulldogs.

“Coming back, I knew obviously we were going to put together a great season, but the success so far has been amazing. Everybody shows up and does their part. I can see as a leader there is just so much trust on the court right now,” Opfer said.

The Bulldogs continue their dream run with high goals in mind, but with a focus on the present and what they can control. The team’s goal is a Great Athletic Plains Conference championship, but every player is bought in to do the little things first to get there. Being undefeated is no easy feat, especially being ranked No. 1 in the nation and the target that comes with that, but Coach Boldt has kept the focus on what is coming up next and wants it to remain there.

“Our goal ever since Angie [Boldt] and I have been here is to win a GPAC championship. That will always be a standing goal for us, but we are not going to live and die over whether or not we do that,” Boldt explained. “I want that to be our approach every day. I thought that we had GPAC championship mentality today. That is always what we are going for; it will always be a motivator for us, that GPAC championship, but we have to show up every day for it.”

The Bulldogs will now have a week to prepare for one of their toughest tests again, versus Northwestern College, who is ranked No. 2 in the NAIA. The game will be at 3 p.m. on Friday Oct. 14 in Orange City, Iowa, having just as many implications on the GPAC regular season and tournament play as the Bulldogs’ game against Jamestown.

Please leave a reply. Your comment will be reviewed by the Sower editors before posting.