Sept. 23, 2009

Courtesy of Concordia-St. Paul

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Concordia University cleared a big hurdle on Tuesday evening, taking down #14 Southwest Minnesota State 3-0 in an NSIC meeting played at the Gangelhoff Center.  The Golden Bears were matched with offensive power, but their ability to both keep rallies alive and terminate balls gave them the comfortable 25-17, 25-13, 25-15 win.  CU out-matched SMSU with a .394 hitting average and took a season high 25 digs from Mary Slinger. 

The Golden Bears had one of their finest hitting performances of the season against the formidable Mustangs.  The squad bolted their way to 47 kills and just six errors throughout the match against the league's leading digging team.  The middle hitters managed to find holes in both the block and the back line and led the Golden Bears in hitting for the match.  Emily Palkert marked 13 kills with only one error on her way to a .571 average.  Cassie Haag followed with 11 kills and one error for a .417 average.  Only one player on the entire CU roster committed more than one hitting error in the match, and the team high on the night was two.

Mary Slinger had Southwest Minnesota State hitters' cards all night, frustrating the Mustangs by appearing everywhere on the court to save balls.  Her 25 digs led all players in the match and was a season high for the senior libero.

Blocking was also a crucial part of Concordia's win over Southwest.  Behind three solo and two block assists from Megan Carlson, the Golden Bears matched a season high ten team blocks.  Combined with 57 CU digs, the Mustangs were held to a season low .092 hitting average.

The third set of the match was the most threatening for the Golden Bears.  The Mustangs started out hot offensively and did a good job fending off Concordia hitters to lead 10-8 near the midpoint.  Kills were bounced back and forth and SMSU held their final lead at 13-12.  From there, Palkert took over with back-to-back kills to give the home team the lead.  She gave the team further points with more kills to bring the score to 18-15.  Tough serves from Krista Erickson and solid blocking from around the rotation shut out the Mustangs for the remainder of the match and the Golden Bears closed out the win with a final 8-0 push.

Palkert's 13 kill, three block night was just one of the statistical highlights of the match.  Carlson finished with nine kills, five blocks, eight digs and an ace serve, while Maggie McNamara had 42 assists and three blocks.

Middle hitter Mary Groth was Southwest Minnesota State's only player to reach double figures for kills, finishing with 10.  Libero Kenzie Niesche had a team high 10 digs.

The Golden Bears are back in action this weekend, travelling to Minnesota, Crookston and MSU Moorhead in continued NSIC competition.