Dec. 3, 2010

 

By Mark Bedics

LOUISVILLE, Ky. − Concordia-St. Paul kept alive its hopes for a fourth straight NCAA title with a 25-13, 25-10, 25-20 victory over Dowling in the semifinals of the Division II National Championships Festival.

Concordia-St. Paul will face either Tampa or Central Missouri at 4 p.m. Saturday in the national championship match.

The team came out excited and I thought they played well,” said Concordia-St. Paul head coach Brady Starkey. The defense played a lot better than yesterday, and it led to a great offensive performance.”

The first set went back and forth with the Golden Bears holding a narrow 10-7 lead before they went on an 8-0 run. In the second set, Concordia jumped out to a big early lead and coasted to a 25-10 win. The Golden Bears hit an amazing .714 in that set.

The third set was a different story as Dowling hung tough throughout. Concordia got out to an early 7-2 lead, but the Lions battled within 17-15. However, the Golden Bears were able to hold off Dowling for a 25-20 win to clinch the match.

The Golden Bear middle blocker combo of sophomore Cassie Haag and senior Emily Palkert combined for 25 kills in only 33 swings with only one error between the two of them. As a team, Concordia hit .467, the highest in postseason play in school history. Freshman setter Amanda Konetchy had 34 assists.

Dowling, which finished 30-2, was paced by senior outside hitter Patrycja Klekotka, who had 13 kills and a .455 hitting percentage. Junior setter Mara Potpara had seven kills and team-highs of 22 assists and seven digs.