NCAA News Archive - 2008

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Concordia turns tables on Cal State San Bernardino


Dec 8, 2008 12:27:15 PM


The NCAA News

Since dropping its first match of the season, Concordia-St. Paul waited all season for a rematch against Cal State San Bernardino.

The Golden Bears’ dream matchup materialized December 6 in the final of the Division II Women’s Volleyball Championship, and they gained redemption with a thrilling five-set victory before 1,537 of their home fans in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Concordia’s 23-25, 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 15-13 win also gave the program its second consecutive national title, making the Golden Bears the first team to capture back-to-back Division II crowns since Northern Michigan in 1993 and 1994.

“This feels as close to perfect as you could get,” said Golden Bears senior Maria Steinhagen to the assembled media after the match. “We have mostly the same team back from last season and found ways to stay excited and focused on our goal all season.”

Concordia finished the season 37-1, with the only blemish coming August 28 when it lost in three sets to the home-standing Coyotes, who hosted their own regular-season tournament.

Cal State San Bernardino, 30-4, came painfully close to handing the Golden Bears another defeat by taking a 13-11 lead in the fifth set. Instead of panicking, Concordia grew more determined not to let the match slip way.

Steinhagen registered her 14th kill of the finale and then recorded a block to tie the set at 13. Whitney Meierotto blocked Cal State San Bernardino’s top weapon, Jessica Granados, to set up match point for Concordia.

Granados had a match-high 20 kills, so the block sent the crowd into the frenzy.

“There could not have been anything to get more emotion out of us at that point,” said Concordia setter Maggie McNamara.      

The Golden Bears then turned to Sadie Kessler, who led her team with 17 kills, for the final attack of the match to take the title.

While it was a bitter disappointment for the Coyotes to come so close to fulfilling their ultimate goal, the high level of competition is something all those involved will remember.

“The best two teams in the country were playing,” said Cal State San Bernardino coach Kim Cherniss, whose team didn’t drop a set in the tournament until the championship match. “We represented Division II volleyball very well.”

Concordia coach Brady Starkey echoed those sentiments.

“It was an epic battle,” Starkey said. “It came down to a point here, a point there. I’m so proud of how hard this team fights. You can’t train that.”

 

The Golden Bears had a balanced attack with four other players joining Kessler with double-digit kills in the match. Meierotto had 16, and Steinhagen, Emily Palkert and Ellie Duffy each added 14.

 

Last year, Concordia won the national title in Topeka, Kansas. Capturing a second on its home court in the Gangelhoff Center added another dimension.

 

“This was more emotional because of how much this means to our students, our fan base, parents, family, and our administration that works so unbelievably hard for this,”
Starkey said.

 

Quarterfinals: Grand Valley St. def. Armstrong Atlantic, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17; Concordia-St. Paul def. New Haven, 25-13, 25-13, 25-15; Cal St. San B’dino def. California (Pa.), 25-23, 25-22, 25-11; Truman def. Nova Southeastern, 25-21, 25-20, 25-20.

Semifinals: Concordia-St. Paul def. Grand Valley St., 25-20, 20-25, 25-17, 25-20; Cal St. San B’dino def. Truman, 25-23, 25-18, 25-23.

 

Championship

Concordia-St. Paul    23        25        25        23        15

Cal St. San B’dino     25        20        18        25        13

Cal St. San B’dino                K         E         TA     Pct.      A         SA       D         TB

Sara Rice                                 14        4          36        .278     0          0          2          3

Samantha Middleborn                        13        2          21        .524     0          0          2          4

Kelcie Tolan                            0          0          0          .000     1          1          7          0

Jessica Granados                     20        10        58        .172     1          2          7          2

Ashtin Hall                              7          4          29        .103     0          1          9          1

Sara Hoffman                         1          0          4          .250     54        0          10        3

Meghan Haas                          1          0          3          .333     2          0          23        0

Megan Johnson                       0          0          0          .000     0          0          0          0

Morgan Carty                          1          1          2          .000     0          0          0          0

Jane Chafeh                            6          2          21        .190     1          0          3          3

Totals                                      63        23        174      .230     59        4          63        16

Concordia (Minn.)               K         E         TA     Pct.      A         SA       D         TB

Maggie McNamara                 0          1          2          .000     70        1          11        1

Maria Steinhagen                    14        2          29        .414     0          0          1          5

Sadie Kessler                          17        3          30        .467     5          1          12        2

Ellie Duffy                              14        7          35        .200     0          0          3          1

Whitney Meierotto                  16        9          40        .175     0          1          13        5

Emily Palkert                          14        4          32        .312     0          0          0          6

Mary Slinger                           0          0          2          .000     0          0          20        0

Rachel Knutsen                       0          0          0          .000     0          1          10        0

Krista Erickson                       0          0          1          .000     0          1          3          0

Totals                                      75        26        171      .287     75        5          73        20       


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