No. 1 Concorida-St. Paul Survives Scare to Defeat No. 22 Augustana


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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The ghosts of a No. 22-ranked Augustana College defense haunted No. 1 Concordia University at the Elmen Center in Sioux Falls on Friday night.  Freshman Ellie Duffy came up with a career high 18 kills to help the Golden Bears stay alive with a 3-1 win (29-27, 25-22, 18-25, 25-19).

The win for Concordia keeps the season win streak alive and growing at 26 games, as they improve to 26-1 overall and remain untouched in the NSIC at 15-0.  Augie has now lost three straight and is 18-9 overall and 10-4 in the league.
The set loss for the Golden Bears came in the third game and was a rather decisive 25-18 win for the Vikings.  The squad's offense matched the defensive effort in posting 15 kills with only three errors for a .400 set hitting average.

Concordia went up two games to none over Augie after overcoming a significant deficit in the first game for the 29-27 decision and then taking game two 25-22.  "The Hammer" Ellie Duffy dropped full force on the Vikings in game one and helped her team to come back after being down by as many as eight points a number of times in the set.  She finished the first set with eight kills.

The Golden Bears stayed in tighter through the second set and rattled off a 5-2 game-ending run to overtake the Vikings and claim the win.  The Vikings used an 11-4 run to maintain a game three lead and spooked the Bears with the strong 25-18 win.

Unfortunately for Augustana, senior leadership haunted much of the final set as Whitney Meierotto and Maria Steinhagen "killed" eight balls in leading the Golden Bears to the ultimate win.  The defense kept many of Augustana's attacks alive and held the Vikings to a match low .111 hitting average and only nine kills.  The Golden Bears tied the game at 10-10 before running off with 15 of the next 24 points scored, including each of the final five points.  Meierotto put down three consecutive kills to get her team to match point before Rachel Knutsen wrapped things up with an ace serve.

Duffy led all hitters with her 18 kills and committed just two errors on the evening.  Meierotto finished with 15 kills and a team high 21 digs, her third double double in four matches.  Emily Palkert matched her senior counterpart with 15 kills.  Also playing a strong match was Sadie Kessler with nine kills and a career high 20 digs.  Maggie McNamara had 62 assists on the evening.

The Golden Bears out-hit the Vikings 68 kills to 54.  Their .223 hitting average is the coolest they've seen in six matches and is below their season average, but is still a respectable figure.  The Vikings managed to hit around what has been a very strong CU block and allowed the Golden Bears only four team blocks in the match.

Augustana College was led on the offensive end by Ellen Andrews with 17 kills.  Cayla Schroeder marked a double double for her team with 12 kills and 18 digs, the highest defensive figure for Augie on the night.  The team posted 54 kills and a .213 hitting average.  AC had 76 digs to CU's 89, but doubled the Golden Bears up with eight team blocks, including six assisted and a solo block from Blythe Johnson.

The Golden Bears continue play on the road at #23 Wayne State tomorrow afternoon with a game time set at 4:00 pm.  They then return home to play a highly anticipated match against rival and #17-ranked Minnesota Duluth on Tuesday evening at 7:00 pm.  The match will be televised live on FSN North.

Article courtesy of COncordia St. Paul athletics.

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