Nov. 19, 2009

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Top seeded and #1-ranked Concordia University (32-0) powered its way past no. 8 seed Colorado Mines (22-10) in the quarterfinals of the Central Region Tournament, hitting .340 with 45 kills in a 3-0 sweep (25-14, 25-10, 25-20). The Golden Bears advance to Friday's semifinal match against #17 Wayne State College, the tourney's no. 4 seed, played at the Gangelhoff Center at 8:30 pm. The Golden Bears have now won 69 consecutive matches, an all-time best for Division II play.

"We are so excited to be here," said Concordia senior Sadie Kessler (RS, St. Michael, Minn.). "In the gym the last few weeks, there has been a new energy."

Megan Carlson led the team with 14 kills and 12 digs.The Golden Bears sped out to a quick 2-0 lead as the Orediggers, seeing a rare regional opponent, took awhile to adjust to the environment. CU had 14 kills in each of the first two sets and swung for .500 in the second set while going without a receiving error. Staying in-system allowed the offense to thrive and allowed CU's offense to perform at a peak.

"It's a different atmosphere to play in (at the Gangelhoff Center)," said CU head coach Brady Starkey. "We can usually get two quick sets before teams calm down. Colorado Mines came here and competed, especially in the third set. I'm sure they will be here again."

After a second set blowout that featured a 12-0 run with Krista Erickson behind the line, the Orediggers made a match out of the third set. A kill by senior Kaity Edmiston put CSM within reach at 10-12. The score never reached more than a 5-point margin throughout the set. The Golden Bears made a number of costly hitting mistakes that delayed the win, but their victory still came at a 25-20 score.

The Golden Bear offense looks like it is already gearing up for the future, allowing newcomers to take the reigns in kills. Sophomore outside hitter Megan Carlson (Andover, Minn. / Marshall Univ.) jumped out with a hot start, putting down seven of the team's 14 first-set kills.

"I knew I could go up and swing, that I had a good defense behind me," said Carlson of her early success. "I was able to get up high and also hit high hands."

Cassie Haag had 10 kills for CU.Carlson led the squad with 14 kills and 12 digs on the night, her 17th double-double of the year. She also had her hand in three of the team's six blocks. Freshman Cassie Haag (MH, Plymouth, Minn.) followed with 10 kills. Taylor Fieldsted (So., Lakeville, Minn.) followed Carlson on defense with 10 digs. Senior setter Maggie McNamara (Zumbrota, Minn.) had 35 assists, two service aces and five digs on the night.

The Colorado Mines offense was led by Anna Padget-Shields with seven kills. Setter Emily Collett came away with 26 assist and four digs. The Orediggers hit .108 with 29 kills. They stuck it out defensively, coming up with 36 digs, including 11 from Alese Madenwald.

"It was an awesome experience that I'll remember forever," said CSM senior Edmiston. "We were able to put up a fight and that is great."