SEWARD, Neb. – Head coach Ben Boldt sang the National Anthem – and it was over. Okay, it doesn’t really work that way. But Boldt did show off his chops as a singer and the Concordia University volleyball team rolled up another straight sets victory. The Bulldogs spread it around on the attack while Marissa Hoerman cleaned up in the back in a 25-17, 25-12, 25-23, victory over visiting Waldorf University on Friday (Aug. 30) night.
In this battle of unbeaten combatants, something had to give. Boldt’s squad has now raced out to a 5-0 start while the Warriors of Forest City, Iowa, slipped to 4-1. Earlier in the day, Waldorf had beaten Bethany College (Kan.) as part of a Bulldog Bash that features 11 total matches this weekend.
Boldt just would have preferred on this night that his team had finished a bit stronger. Said Boldt, “The first two sets we were good. We just have to look to have our foot on the gas pedal. It was a good start but we need to be able to finish them off a little bit better. We didn’t necessarily go out and win that last game.
“It was kind of a wash for us tonight. Our message to them was that we have to be great tomorrow.”
There is credit to go around from Concordia’s attacking perspective, but it’s probably past due to recognize one particularly impressive theme that has persisted throughout the young season. A junior from Evergreen, Colo., Hoerman spearheads a back row that has allowed its opponents a grand total of six aces through five matches (15 sets). Hoerman racked up a match high 19 digs on Friday.
This was just the latest in match in which Concordia kept the opposition’s attack in check. The Warriors hit .088 and had only 25 total kills. They also hurt themselves with 10 service errors. It’s become increasingly difficult to land a serve on the Bulldog side of the floor.
“We practice a lot of serve and pass regularly in practice,” Hoerman said. “We work on fundamentals every single day, but what’s been really awesome is we have a really seasoned back row. We’re really good at communicating and we know how to move around each other. Basically I think it’s just reps with each other and knowing the people that are back there passing with you. I think that really has been the key.”
Offensively, Kara Stark fueled the attack with 12 kills on 29 swings. In a balanced effort, freshmen Camryn Opfer and Kalee Wiltfong added eight kills apiece and senior Emmie Noyd contributed six. Tara Callahan tossed up 28 assists while Opfer (11) and Erin Johnson (10) both reached double figures in digs. Concordia hit .192 as a team.
The Bulldogs have now won 18 in a row against nonconference opponents. So what’s the difference between this year’s team and the one from last year?
Explains Hoerman, “Overall I think we’re much more solid up front, which is interesting because we have a really young front row. But we have girls that are super consistent and our blockers work really, really hard up there. I think our front row has improved a lot.”
On day two of the Bulldog Bash, Concordia will take on Mayville State University (N.D.) at 11 a.m. CT and then Benedictine College (Kan.) at 3 p.m. On the first day of the event, Mayville State lost in five sets to Benedictine and then toppled Bethany College (Kan.) in straight sets. After its win over Mayville State, Benedictine fell to Briar Cliff in four sets.
As of now, we cannot confirm whether Coach Boldt will sing the National Anthem on Saturday.