Nov. 19, 2010

Courtesy of Concordia

MARSHALL, Minn. - Concordia kept their postseason streak alive Friday evening as they were able to beat Metro State 3-1, CU moves to the NCAA Regional Final for the eighth straight season. The Golden Bears will play the winner of #1 seed Southwest Minnesota State and #4 seed Nebraska-Kearney Saturday night at 7 p.m. CU has now won 18 straight matches this season and 20 straight NCAA Tournament games. They are now 30-4 in the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Bears defense lead them to a 3-1 winThe Golden Bears were led offensively by Emily Palkert who had 17 kills and .406 hitting percentage. Sophomore Kara Pioske missed her career high by one as she went for 12 kills and a team high .524 hitting percentage. "I was able to get great sets from Amanda (Konetchy) and Megan (Carlson) was able to tell me where to hit, they were the reason I was successful," explained Pioske. Head Coach Brady Starkey gave Pioske some praise saying, "She was aggressive tonight and hit through some double blocks which led to her success."

Concordia got double digit kills from Cassie Haag (13) and Megan Carlson (11), Carlson also had 12 digs to complete the double double. It was the second straight night Carlson had a double double. Amanda Konetchy dished out 52 assists on the night as CU hit .386 as a team and hit over .405 in sets two through four.

Taylor Fieldsted had 19 digs to lead the CU defense on Friday night, her 19 digs were on away from a season high. FreshmanPioske had a just one error on the night, as she hit .524 Kayla Koenecke added 11 digs on the night as well as helping the offense with eight kills.

In the first set CU came out slow much like they did in the opening round against Minnesota State Mankato on Thursday afternoon. CU hit .226 while Metro State hit .393 to control the Golden Bears. CU and Metro State were tied at ten midway through the set but Metro State scored seven of the next eight to take a commanding 17-11 lead. The Golden Bears got as close as 19-23 but that was all they would score as MSCD won the set 25-19.

Concordia and MSCD were again tied midway through the set as it was knotted at 9-9. CU got some breathing room by scoring six of the next seven to get a 15-11 lead. After Metro State scored a point CU came back by scoring ten of the next twelve to take the set 25-14. CU improved their hitting percentage from .226 to .423 and hold Metro State to a .097 hitting percentage. Through two sets Koenecke had five kills and zero errors for the Golden Bears.

Cassie Haag had 13 kills on Friday eveningCU and Metro State had quite a battle again in the third set as no team had a lead greater than three at any point during the set. CU was trailing during most of the early to middle part of the set until they got ahead 14-13 and kept that lead until Metro State rallied to take the lead back at 18-17. Concordia got the lead back at 19-18, 20-19, 21-20, 22-20 but each time Metro State tied the match right back up. Concordia took the lead at 23-22 and after a Metro State timeout CU closed out the set 25-22. Both teams hit well in the third set, Metro State hit .304 where as CU hit .405.

The Golden Bears used the momentum from winning set three to jump out to a 11-7 lead midway through the set. Metro State closed the gap to 12-10 but CU kept up the pressure and extended their lead to 18-11 and never looked back taking the set 25-14. Concordia's offense was again on fire in the fourth set as they hit a ridiculous .485 on 17 kills and a lone error.

Metro State Head Coach Debbie Hendricks explained why Concordia is so tough to beat, "They play well on the defensive side of the ball and dig so well they are in system even on our hard swings, when you don't get them out of system they make it real tough to beat."

Sophomore Cassie Haag explained how tough each opponent is come post season play, "There is no bad defensive team in the NCAA Tournament, it comes down out working the other team if you want to be successful in the post season."

Concordia will try to get to their fourth straight Elite Eight tomorrow night at 7 p.m. as they will play either SMSU or UNK. When asked about the Golden Bears success at the NCAA Central Regional, Starkey explained "We recruit talented kids that want to play tough and put in the effort to be successful, that is key to competing at such a high level."