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Home Sports Bulldogs finish out Hastings in tough battle, avoid first fifth set of...

Darien Semedo

Sower Staff


The No. 4 Concordia Bulldogs took down the Hastings College Broncos 3-1, avoiding their first fifth set of the season in a low-hitting battle.

Both teams struggled to find success on the offensive side of the ball. Whether it was either the team’s block or their own errors, the ball struggled to find the ground in Friedrich Arena. The Bulldogs finished the afternoon with a hitting percentage of .146, well below their normal percentage. They also finished with 28 errors, their highest number since playing Northwestern.

Sophomore Ashely Keck (15) led the way on offense, with Seniors Camryn Opfer (13) and Gabi Nordaker (10) finishing with double-digit kills. Senior Bree Burtwistle set up the offense once again, finishing with 43 assists and five kills of her own. The offense struggled to stay efficient, which has been an issue as of late. The Broncos finished with nine total blocks, but the Bulldogs will be able to clean up some unforced errors on their own. Head coach Ben Boldt plans on taking advantage of games where his team can learn and believes this is a great one to pull lessons from.

“I mean we do it over and over again. I think that being able to do it in competitive settings where you’re down prepares you for tough situations on the court,” Boldt explained. “We can try to put them in those situations in practice, but I think that matches like this and games like this will continue to prepare us for things we may see later in the year. We have got to continue to be the ‘Woman’; that’s our mantra.”

On defense, the Bulldogs held the Broncos to .081 hitting percentage on the night, while adding seven total blocks on the afternoon. Nordaker led with 4.0 total blocks, while it was a complete team effort on the backside. Five Bulldogs finished with double-digit digs, with junior Rebecca Gebhardt leading at 18 of her own. Nordaker was one of the seniors celebrated today and announced that she has decided to come back for a fifth year. Having her back will be great for Coach Boldt, as she has been key on the defensive side. Nordaker commented on her mentality as the middle of the defense.

“Being a middle blocker, blocking is obviously my first priority so it’s all really a mentality. You must have a strong mentality and really believe you’re going to get your hands on those attacks,” Nordaker said.

Cassidy Knust and Sara Huss were big contributors for Coach Boldt on the defensive side, with the former finishing with 15 digs and the latter forcing multiple errors as the middle block. The team’s defense has improved game by game and seems poised for a playoff run coming next week. Boldt acknowledged that the win was not pretty, but he took the win knowing they got better during the game.

“It’s life in the GPAC on games like this. Sometimes you win pretty, sometimes you win ugly, and this was one of those ugly wins. But a win is a win, and you just have to continue to get better no matter what,” Boldt said.

The Bulldogs now sit in a three-way tie atop the GPAC standings after Northwestern took down Jamestown Saturday. If each team finishes with the same record, all three will be declared regular season champions. Along with that, the Bulldogs would be seeded No. 2 behind Northwestern and in front of Jamestown during the tournament, saving the Bulldogs from a far road trip to North Dakota.

With only Midland (14-9, 10-5) left on the schedule, Concordia must close the season on a strong note to put themselves in a prime position for the GPAC Tournament.

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