Dec. 5, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. - An explosive offense gave Concordia University (35-1) an NCAA Championship quarterfinal win over the University of New Haven (31-4) on Thursday evening. The Golden Bears ripped out 42 kills while hitting .425 as they gained their 35th consecutive win in search of another NCAA Division II title. They face Grand Valley State in the national semifinals on Friday at 7:30 pm at Gangelhoff Center.

"We are super fired up to be in the next round," said Starkey of the semifinal berth. "You look at the stats and they're great, but you have to throw them out the window. We have another game."

Concordia didn't come charging out of the gates at the University of New Haven, but it didn't take them long to put away the jitters and get things rolling. With 15 kills and just two errors in the first set, the Golden Bears upheld both their #1 national ranking and a reputation as an offensive powerhouse. They kept rolling through the 56 minute, 3-0 win, and spread the ball around to all of the team's hitters. The range in kills from Concordia's five hitters spread from no less than seven and no more than ten.

Maggie McNamara sets up Maria Steinhagen"They (CU hitters) can all terminate the ball," explained setter Maggie McNamara of the team's offense. "Who I set depends on the pass, the defense, the play, but it helps me that they are all go-to players. They give me a lot of options," said the junior who will finish her third consecutive season leading the NCAA in assists.

The win was special for the Golden Bears, who are defending their 2007 NCAA Division II Championship title on their home court. The Gangelhoff Center was aflurry with 1,212 supporters who jumped on the backs of their Golden Bears and provided a tremendous playing atmosphere.

"We love playing in front of a big crowd," said the team's celebration expert, junior Sadie Kessler. "We thrive off of emotional energy and it helps to have the backing of the fans."