KEARNEY, Neb. – Four-time defending national champion Concordia-St. Paul advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 3-0 victory against Minnesota-Mankato on Thursday.

Concordia came out hot in the first set as it jumped out to an early 12-6 lead.  From here, CU went on a 5-1 run extending its lead to 17-7.  The Golden Bears were led in the first set by sophomore Kayla Koenecke who recorded five kills on just six attempts as CU went on an 8-3 run to close out the first set, 25-10.

The second set started with a run from each team as CU once again started out strong scoring the set’s first five points.  However, MSU responded with a run of its own as it came back to score the next six points to take the 6-5 lead.  The two teams would trade points back-and-forth for much of the second set until CU was able to capture a 21-17 lead late in the set.  Concordia would once again prove to be too strong as it closed the set out on a 7-2 run, winning the second set, 25-19.

MSU got out to a slow start in the third set as it surrendered the first three points to Concordia.  The Mavericks would fight back, however, finding their offense and taking a 10-9 lead.  After playing to a tie at 15, CU captured the momentum going on a 6-3 run taking the 21-18 lead.  Despite a late comeback attempt by MSU, the four-time defending national champions came out victorious earning the 25-22 win.

The Golden Bears were led by Koenecke who finished the match with 13 kills on 21 attempts (.524) as Concordia will go on to face third-seeded Minnesota-Duluth who defeated sixth-seeded Wayne State in three sets in the tournament’s first match.

The Mavericks were led at the net by junior outside hitter Chelsea Fogarty who finished with 14 kills on 48 attempts while junior’s Courteney Steinhauser and Jill Storlie tallied seven kills on 12 and 19 attempts, respectively.

Senior setter Brittany Stamer paced the Mavericks with 35 assists while adding a game-high 19 digs.  Fellow senior Alli Rice finished the match with seven kills on 25 attempts while adding four digs.

MSU finishes the season 20-9 overall as the loss marks the second-consecutive year the Mavericks have been eliminated from the national tournament by Concordia.