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Concordia reaches NAIA volleyball quarterfinals for first time in program history
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COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL

Concordia reaches NAIA volleyball quarterfinals for first time in program history

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The Concordia volleyball program continues to set a new bar.

The No. 10 Bulldogs defeated No. 7 Marian (Indiana) 25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 25-22 to close out pool play in the NAIA Tournament on Wednesday in Sioux City, Iowa.

Concordia is headed to the national quarterfinals for the first time in program history. It will play fellow Great Plains Athletic Conference member Dordt at 5 p.m. Thursday.

The Bulldogs, who finished 2-0 in Pool G, reached the Round of 16 a season ago, then a program first.

Concordia (18-4) was coming off a five-set thriller against Lindsey Wilson (Kentucky) less than 24 hours earlier.

"We played better than we did (Tuesday)," Concordia coach Ben Boldt said. "I really liked our focus in warmups. We missed our first two serves — which is a sign that you're not very focused — but I don't think that fazed us at all."

Seward graduate Camryn Opfer had 19 kills and 10 digs and senior Kara Stark added 14 kills on .314 hitting against Marian. Senior Tara Callahan continued her strong tournament play with 49 set assists.

Marian trailed 18-13 in the fourth set before closing to within 23-22. But an attack error and a kill by Gabi Nordaker closed the match in four for Concordia.

Concordia had a 12-7 advantage in blocks.

No. 12 Midland (14-9) also advanced to the quarterfinal round with a 25-19, 25-17, 25-18 win against No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan (21-3).

Midland hit .353 for the match while holding Indiana Wesleyan to a .180 clip. The Warriors also had a big advantage in digs (63-46).

Taliyah Flores recorded her 13th double-double (14 kills and 16 digs) to lead Midland, which will play No. 5 Northwestern at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Five of the eight remaining teams in the tournament are from the GPAC.

"We talk about that stuff as a staff how the GPAC prepares you for the national tournament," Boldt said. "They expect the results once we get to the national tournament. That expectation has shown up."

Concordia defeated Dordt in straight sets on Oct. 2.

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