Concordia-Moorhead wins five-setter
Cobbers outlasts Wisconsin-Stevens Point in NCAA tourney play
MOORHEAD, Minn. -- In front of the largest crowd to ever see a volleyball match in school history, Concordia-Moorhead battled through a five-set marathon and edged Wisconsin-Stevens Point 3-2 (25-11,15-25,25-13,18-25,16-14) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship.
The Cobbers had to rally from a 7-4 deficit in the fifth set to pull away for the dramatic victory. Concordia also trailed 12-10 in the deciding set before winning six of the final eight points to win 16-14 and send the estimated crowd of 784 into a frenzy.
The win is the 14th consecutive for Concordia and 20th home victory in a row in a streak that dates back to 2009. The Cobbers are now 26-3 on the season which is the most wins in a season for the team since 2003.
The instant-classic victory started out in a completely different matter as the teams traded lopsided set wins. Concordia skipped their way to a 25-11 win in the first set before the Pointers shook off their NCAA Tournament nerves and returned the favor with a 25-15 victory in the second set. The third set sent the rollercoaster back in the Cobbers’ direction as they won 13 of the first 17 points and led at one point 21-7 before closing out the 25-13 win. Stevens Point then turned the tables one final time by going on a 4-0 run midway through the fourth set and keeping Concordia from closing out the match with a 25-18 victory.
That set the stage for an even more climactic fifth set. The Pointers won the first two points and then ran the lead to three at 7-4 before Concordia All-American Jenna Green came up with four consecutive kills to give the Cobbers a 9-8 lead. The teams traded points and then Stevens Point went ahead 12-10 on a Cobber attack error. Concordia coach Tim Mosser took a timeout and the team responded with three consecutive points to seize a 13-12 lead. With the crowd on their feet and hanging on every touch of the ball, Pointer junior Christina Brinkman knocked down one of her team-high 13 kills and the match was all tied at 13-13.
A kill from Concordia’s clutchest player of the night, Ashley Beseman, gave the Cobbers’ their first match point at 14-13. Brinkman once again brought Stevens Point back from the brink of defeat by coming up with her final winner of the night. That set the stage for Concordia’s two All-Americans as Katie Vohnoutka pounded down a serve from Amy Sykora to make the score 15-14 and then Green finished off the barn burner by getting her 13th kill of the night to give CC the 16-14 win.
Concordia hit above .185 in all three of their set wins and had an attack percentage of .114 in each of their set losses. Stevens Point hit better than .300 in both of their set wins but were held to a .000 attack percentage in their first two set losses.
Vohnoutka had a team-high 16 kills and 12 digs while Green ended the five-set match with 13 kills and 17 digs. Her 13 kills push over the 400-kill mark for season and she is now the first player in program history to record 400 kills and 400 digs in a single year. Beseman came up big in the third set time after time and finished with eight kills and two blocks. Sykora, the fourth senior on the team, had a match-high 44 assists and moved into second place on the school’s all-time assist list. Sykora now has 3,071 career kills.
Rachel Wiinanen and Alison Bruggeman also filled the stat sheet for Concordia. Wiinanen had a match-high 20 digs and Bruggeman added 13 digs and three kills.
UW-Stevens Point (26-8) had three players with at least 11 kills and was led by Kati Rau who had 16 kills and 11 digs. Brinkman also posted a double-double and ended with 13 kills and 16 digs. Morgan Bartkowiak was the final member of the double-digit kill club – finishing with 11 winners. Alexis Hartman had 39 assists and Ally Groth recorded a team-high 19 digs.