Photo courtesy of Elisha Meyer.
By Elisha Meyer
Bulldog Nation will see one of its best volleyball teams in recent memory play on, as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics selection committee awarded Concordia with a No. 15 seed in the National Tournament bracket Monday morning.
“We’re doing it,” Volleyball Coach Ben Boldt said. “Let’s keep rolling. This was a great moment. Just be thankful for everybody that has put time in, not just everybody here.”
The Bulldogs recorded a combined record of 23-6 (11-5 Great Plains Athletic Conference) in just the second year under Boldt. This is their best record since 2015, when the Bulldogs under Coach Scott Mattera obtained a 26-9 (12-4 GPAC). The 2015 team also earned a national tournament bid.
The season for Concordia started with a bang, as the club went 12-0 (2-0 GPAC) to start their year. The Bulldogs had gone on the same exact run to start their 2018 season, but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity during conference play. Boldt told his team that this team wouldn’t make the same mistake.
“We’re not satisfied with just making it,” Boldt said. “Nobody here is. We’ve played our best at points this year, but I feel like this team has a run in us.”
That 2018 season became a distant memory for Boldt, who led his squad as far as the GPAC semifinals. Hopes of a conference championship died in a sudden-death 5-set loss to Jamestown, who eventually captured the conference crown themselves. Boldt said that his team has the capability to play in big moments.
“We’ve played the top team in the nation, 23-25,” Boldt said. “We had a set point on them. 15-13 with Jamestown, one of the best teams out there. We’re close. We just have to stay consistent.”
Players gathered in the conference room of Waltz Arena on campus to watch the news unveil itself live. Tears were present in the eyes of players, but all of them know how hard it will be to keep on task.
Members of the athletic department were also present to congratulate the team, including Associate Director of Athletics Angela Muller.
“It’s just Bulldogs for Bulldogs,” Muller said. “You (the team) have so much support. All the coaches in the department know how special it is to be sitting where you’re sitting right now.”
Concordia, with their seeding, will not be playing an opening round matchup, and have earned an automatic spot in the 4-team pool play. Matchups will not be available until the conclusion of opening rounds.