Photos by Whitney Pottschmidt
By Julia Witt
The Bulldog volleyball team lost their winning streak to nationally ranked No. 9 Midland University Warriors in a five-set game Saturday.
The first set saw a Bulldog 25-22 victory with key kills by senior Emmie Noyd and junior Kara Stark throughout the set. Senior Kaci Hohenthaner brought the set to an early 9-5 lead with an ace serve. In the end, it was a tip by Stark that won the set for the Bulldogs.
The second set had the closest action of the game. It started with 4-1 lead for the Bulldogs, but the Midland Warriors quickly rallied back to tie the game at 7-7. At this point, the set took on a point for point dynamic, neither team ever taking a substantial lead. Sophomore Arleigh Costello made some good moves throughout the set, with a kill that gave the Bulldogs a two point lead in the first set, and a tip later in the game that brought a 20-20 tie. In the end, it was the Midland Warriors who found victory in the extended set, with a final score of 25-27.
“I thought we had it there,” Concordia alumnus John Seevers said. “We were sitting there on the 24 and they just put one away and we couldn’t do it. They came back. They just played very well. I can understand why they’re rated ninth in the nation.”
The Bulldogs held the lead for most of the third set, but the Warriors fought back mid set to take the lead 16-17. A kill by freshman Kallee Wiltfong gave the lead back to the Bulldogs and they went on to win the set 25-22. The fourth set went to the Warriors 9-25, despite the Bulldogs’ best efforts and kills from Noyd and Stark.
The final, tie-breaker set of the match started in favor of the Bulldogs with a tip by freshman Camryn Opfer. From there, the game once again saw point for point action, with a kill and a save by Costello. However, the Midland Warriors triumphed and won the set 13-15, taking the game in 5 sets.
“We grinded through it.” Head Volleyball Coach Ben Boldt said. “We had our opportunities, but it was a grind-out game, both teams going back and forth. I think that they just had some more kills in that last set and, you know, we weren’t able to overcome it.”
Despite the disappointment of the loss, the team hasn’t lost heart.
“Hopefully it tests us to become stronger as a team.” Boldt said. “You know, I told the team afterwards that … it only counts if we learn something. So, we’ll just put our heads back down and go to work. It’s all we can do.”