Concordia was bumped from the MIAC semifinals by No.1 seed St. Ben's 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 17-25, 15-25) on Thursday.
|Cobbers Bumped By Blazers|
ST. JOSEPH, Minn. (11/05/09)-- Concordia matched No.1-seeded St. Ben's in the opening game of their semifinal match on Thursday in St. Joseph but wasn't able to keep up that pace for the entire four games and fell 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 17-25, 15-25). The loss drops the Cobbers' season record to 14-10 and leaves them in limbo for an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Blazers improve to 25-5 on the year and will host St. Olaf in the conference championship match on Saturday.
The opening game of the match was one of the tightest and most well played games of the season. Neither team was able to take more than a two-point lead the entire game with the teams trading points until the very end. With St. Ben's holding a 23-21 lead and looking like they would close out CC to take a 1-0 lead, the Cobbers got kills by Jenna Green and Dana Wermers to even the score at 23-23. An attack error by CSB gave Conocordia game point at 24-23. CC would not let the chance go a-begging as Wermers closed out the game with her second winner in the final four points.
Unfortunately Concordia wasn't able to keep playing at that top level. After the first game saw 14 tie scores and six lead changes, the second game was all St. Ben's and saw only four ties and one lead change. The game started tight with the score tied at 6-6. That's when things went south for CC. A 4-0 run by CSB was turned into a streak of 12 out of 17 points to give the Blazers an 18-11 lead. The Cobbers were never able to get to within five points and St. Ben's tied the match at 1-1.
The third game was more like the opener with 10 tie scores and five lead changes. The difference in the third is that when St. Ben's made a mini run at the end, the Cobbers couldn't reel them in and stay close enough to pull it out in the end. CSB held a one-point lead at 17-16 and then pulled away for a 19-16 lead. Concordia tried to get back in the game, but the Blazers recorded the next five points and coasted to the 25-17 win.
The late surge by the Blazers in game 3 took the wind out of Concordia's sails and they were never able to get in game 4. St. Ben's took a 4-0 lead and then extended it to 18-7 before closing out the match at 25-15.
Concordia hit .195 in the first game but never hit above .100 in the next three and finished with an attack percentage of .080. The Blazers hit under .100 the first game but then posted attack percentages above .220 in the next three and ended with a .211 hitting percentage. The Cobbers had a 10-6 edge in total team blocks but the Blazers had 17 more kills in the match.
The Cobbers were led by Katie Vohnoutka who had a team-high 11 kills to go along with eight digs. Two other CC players had 10 kills in the match. Jenna Green had 10 kills and a team-high 13 digs while Dana Wermers also finished with 10 kills. Ashley Beseman had a match-high seven blocks and Greta Wood chipped in 13 digs. Amy Sykora had 36 assists for the CC offense.
Candace Bartels led St. Ben's with 12 kills. Amber Wortz had a match-high .625 attack percentage and finished with 10 winners. Beth Hanson had 53 assists and Emma Jaynes added a match-high 17 digs.
Concordia will now have to wait until Sunday night to see if they receive an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. If the Cobbers earn a spot in the national playoffs it would be their seventh straight berth in the NCAA postseason.