Photo description: A large white-out student section cheers on the CUNE volleyball team
Photo credit: Josiah Seabaugh
The No. 4 Concordia Bulldogs kicked the No. 9 Jamestown Jimmies out of the Great Plains Athletic Conference in an emphatic sweep with white-hot offense in the GPAC tournament.
On offense, the Bulldogs enjoyed a very efficient night, hitting .330 percent on 106 attacks. Sophomore Ashely Keck (14) was the one Bulldog in double figures, with junior Carly Rodaway (9), junior Gabi Nordaker (8) and senior Camyrn Opfer (7) joining in on the attack. Reigning GPAC player of the week, senior Bree Burtwistle finished with 39 assists and one kill.
One key in this game was the difference in blocks from Jamestown. The Jimmies finished with three total blocks compared to their 10 last time. Coach Ben Boldt commented on the differences in the game and how they were key for Concordia.
“I thought that we came out focused — we served well, we attacked well. We were tough to defend due to our balance in our attack. We had a good flow in our offense; we were getting off the net and getting in good positions to attack,” said Boldt. “I think a big difference was our right side; we were able to kill the ball from the right side with Carly [Rodaway]. We were running our play called B-5 GO, which brings their middle blocker to one pin while setting for the other. It really opened her up, and she was getting kills.”
On Defense, the Bulldogs held the Jimmies to .153 percent hitting along with six total blocks. CUNE’s defense put on a lot of pressure, leading to 21 attack errors on the night for Jamestown. Opfer and freshman Maddie Paulsen led the frontline in blocks with two each. Junior Rebecca Gebhardt led with 13 digs, with Opfer finishing right behind at 12. Last time, the blocks were key for both teams and while it did not show in the box score, the Bulldogs’ frontline caused plenty of issues for the Jimmies.
The Bulldogs had spent the last two GPAC tournament title games with a long bus ride back from Jamestown, North Dakota, empty-handed. This year the Bulldogs finished above Jamestown, giving them home court in their semifinal matchup. The energy in the building was electrifying, with the crowd in all white cheering along. After the team huddled to close the game, The Bulldog players rang the victory bell while Coach Boldt rushed the crowd to celebrate with the student section. Ashely Keck spoke of the moment and how it felt.
“It felt really nice to sweep them. Last time they took the first set when we were playing them, so to sweep them on our homecourt after they beat us last year in the GPAC finals was a really sweet moment.”
The Bulldogs will now turn their attention to playing at Northwestern College on Saturday, Nov. 12 for the GPAC title. The Bulldogs struggled to attack in their last game against Northwestern, having one of their worst matches. It will be up to Coach Boldt and his staff to scheme up an offense that is just as efficient as Wednesday night’s in order for the Bulldogs to claim their tournament title under Boldt.