Steinhagen Powers No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul To 27th Win
WAYNE, Neb. - Senior middle hitter Maria Steinhagen marked 15 kills and five block assists in Concordia University's 3-1 win over Wayne State College on Saturday afternoon (17-25, 25-15, 25-18, 26-24). Steinhagen was one of five Golden Bear hitters to reach double figures in kills in the win.
Concordia was taken down 25-17 in the first set of the match at Rice Auditorium by the #23 ranked Wildcats. The Wildcats were eager in the opening game, slowing CU hitters with three blocks and firing 14 kills on their way to the win. The tables turned in the following two sets, however, as the Golden Bears took a 2-1 lead.
Set two was especially productive for the top hitting team in the nation. Concordia drilled out 19 kills in the second set alone and hit at a .615 clip. Steinhagen and fellow middle hitter Emily Palkert were virtually unstoppable, combining for 12 kills in 14 attempts. Palkert tallied kills in all six of her swings in the second set. The Wildcats managed to dig the Golden Bears only three times.
The momentum of the big second set win carried over until the fourth and final set, as the Wildcats regained their composure and began to once again challenge Concordia. Wayne State held the lead throughout much of the game that featured eight ties on the scoreboard. CU appeared to have things finished up with a 24-20 lead, but a number of errors pushed the game to extra points before Palkert and Sadie Kessler marked back-to-back kills for the 26-24 win.
All five of Concordia's hitters went into double figures for kills, topped by Steinhagen's 15 and Palkert's 13. Whitney Meierotto came in with 12 and Kessler and Ellie Duffy had 11 each. Defense was key in stopping the Wildcat attack and Mary Slinger's team high 21 digs helped secure the win for her team. Maggie McNamara came up with 16 digs to accompany her 58 assists, followed by 15 digs from Rachel Knutsen and 14 from Meierotto. CU had 62 kills with a .282 hitting average, 79 digs and seven team blocks.
The offensive production for the Wildcats was charged by ten kills from each of Mindy Moody and Jennifer Hefner. Meredy Dubbs led all players with 27 of her team's 61 digs. The Wildcats came up with 49 kills while hitting .156 and nine team blocks.
Concordia is now 27-1 on the year and 16-0 in the NSIC while Wayne State is 21-6 overall and 10-5 in the league. Next up for the Golden Bears is a big rivalry matchup with the Bulldogs of Minnesota Duluth, ranked #17 in the nation. The game takes center stage at the Gangelhoff Center on Tuesday evening and will be televised live on Fox Sports Net North starting at 7:00 pm.
Article courtesy of Concordia-St. Paul athletics.