Photo description: Junior Carly Rodaway and freshman Maddie Paulsen up at the net for a double block
Photo credit: Bailey Mooney
The Concordia Bulldogs capped off homecoming week in Seward by sweeping the Dordt Defenders 3-0, continuing their hot play this season.
The Bulldogs’ top notch attack came to dance early on Saturday, making Bulldogs able to control the evening start to finish. Concordia’s defense has picked up its play in Conference games, helping the Bulldogs avoid many high-scoring sets. The Bulldogs won each set 25-14 on Saturday, while allowing 0.045 hitting percentage on the night. When asked about the game afterward, Head Coach Ben Boldt was proud of the execution and focus level over the whole game.
“We were focused, and we executed. We were aggressive on our swings and smart when we needed to be,” said Boldt. “We had a couple errors in a row in the second set, but we were able to refocus and get back to playing Bulldog Volleyball.”
The No. 2-ranked offense saw an even attack across the board, with Sophomore Ashely Keck leading the way with 10 kills. Senior Camryn Opfer, junior Gabi Nordaker and junior Carly Rodaway followed suit, leading to 39 total kills on 0.311 attacking percentage. Keck applauded the team’s balance and depth as a large part of the elite level attacking.
“I think our team availability really shows. In every game our kills are spread out between every single hitter,” Keck said. “I think that is a big key to our winning. In practice for outside hitters, we are working on managing the ball instead of shaking them, which has helped a lot.”
This week defensively, the Bulldogs held opponents to 0.019 and 0.045 hitting percentages while adding 17 total blocks along the way. Nordaker led the way, having nine assists and one solo block this week. Head Coach Ben Boldt liked the defensive performance, saying the Bulldogs have been focusing on setting up their front line to support the back end.
“We’ve been working on our blocking a whole lot. When we are good and big up in the net, it is a lot easier to dig around that,” Boldt said. “Our blocking is something that I am always going to be working on and I think that it is a big part of a championship team.”
Along with the defensive performance, Concordia found payoff early, with 11 serving aces on the night. The Bulldogs broke double digit aces for the first time this year, paving the way to some quick leads. Opfer, senior Bree Burtwistle and junior Rebecca Gebhardt had multiple aces on the night, with four other Bulldogs each adding one of their own. The importance of serving and passing is a key part of this Bulldog team, according to Burtwistle.
“One of our key components of every game is always serve and pass. If you don’t have a serve over then there is no chance to play or score,” Burtwistle said. “We really focus on serving and passing, [on] being aggressive while trying to get our opponent out of system, which leads to success.”
Other key stat leaders were Bree Burtwistle with 31 assists and Rebecca Gebhardt with 14 digs. Concordia is still undefeated 13-0 and 6-0 in the Great Athletic Plains Conference. in the season while hoping to continue its elite all-around play. The Bulldogs will go on the road to Sioux City, Iowa, to face Briar Cliff Sept. 29 and Morningside Sept. 30.