The No. 1 Concordia Eagles welcomed old GSAC pals Fresno Pacific and Point Loma Nazarene back into Concordia Arena on Tuesday, November 13, and left with two more wins to conclude the regular season undefeated.
Fresno Pacific, who joined the NCAA DII level this year, marked the first game of a day-night doubleheader inside Concordia Arena. Concordia played Point Loma Nazarene, another old GSAC foe who went DII, in the nightcap on senior night. The Eagles won both matches and finished the regular season 32-0, the first undefeated season in school history.
Against Fresno Pacific, Madison Ekis had 15 kills and eight digs. Reanna Schelhaas added 14 winners, with two blocks, while hitting .500. Jessica Israel was big with 14 kills, five blocks, while hitting .346. Le Mi and Fei Gao had eight and four blocks, respectively. Jenee Henderson had 30 assists and 13 digs. The Eagles won the blocking battle at the net, 12-7. Concordia hit .300, compared to .164 for the Sunbirds.
Concordia jumped out 11-5 in the first set, paced by three early Schelhaas kills. Fresno Pacific came clawing back, but the closest they would get would be 15-15 and then 20-19. A block from Mi and Israel, and two Gao kills sent Concordia to the 25-22 win. Concordia hit .268, compared to .125 for Fresno Pacific.
The Sunbirds came back and dominated game two from start to finish. They went up 12-6 early, and Concordia pulled within four at 22-28, but fell 25-19. Fresno Pacific hit .182, compared to .206 for Concordia.
Set three was back and forth through the first 15 points. Concordia went on a run and went ahead 21-16, led by service aces from Elizabeth Younglove and Mackenzie Gromek. The Eagles scored four of the last six points to win, 25-18. Concordia hit .257, compared to .125 for Fresno Pacific.
The Eagles fell down 0-2 to start the fourth game, but fought back to take a 14-11 lead. The run was fueled by a balanced Concordia attack, with five different Eagles recording kills. Fresno Pacific tied the game at 18, but Concordia finished on a 7-3 run to win, 25-21. Concordia finished balanced again, with Hillary Crone, Schelhaas, Israel, and Gao getting kills to finish. Concordia hit a scorching .500 in the final set, compared to .242 for Fresno Pacific.
The Sunbirds fell to 23-2 for the season.
In the nightcap the Eagles honored seniors Brooke Marino, Fei Gao, and Hillary Crone. Marino, currently injured, sent the first serve of the game over the night for an emotional beginning inside Concordia Arena on senior night. Concordia defeated Point Loma 3-1 to finish their season undefeated for the first time in program history.
On this night Fei Gao led the team with 15 kills, nine digs, and four blocks. Jessica Israel and Madison Ekis added 11 kills each. Le Mi was big in the middle, adding nine kills, while hitting .438 with eight blocks. In all, 16 ladies saw court time for Concordia, spreading the statistics among them. Concordia hit .244, compared to .086 for PLNU, and Concordia won the blocking battle 12-8.
Concordia started strong in the first set, going up 11-6 with kills from Gao and Ekis. The margin grew from there, as Concordia went on to win 25-15, with Israel picking up three kills along the way. Concordia hit .391 compared to .067 for PLNU in the set.
The second set was tighter, and Concordia trailed early, 4-9. They came back to tie the match 17, paced by balanced kills from Ekis, Reanna Schelhaas, Gao, and Israel. Concordia finished on a 8-5 run to win 25-22. The Eagles hit .222, compared to .146 for PLNU.
Concordia looked on their way to a straight-set win, leading 16-10 in the third set. Point Loma showed some grit, coming back to tie at 21. Concordia had game point at 24-23, but failed to capitalize and Point Loma won 27-25. Concordia hit .000 in the match, compared to .071 for the Sea Lions.
Concordia enjoyed the senior night festivities, but was clearly ready to go home after set three. The Eagles absolutely dominated set four, starting on a 10-4 start. Four Ekis kills in the first 10 points set the pace. It didn't get any prettier from there for Point Loma, Concordia went on to win 25-9. Mi, Gao, and Ekis led the final surge. Concordia hit .500 in the set, while the Sea Lions struggled at .032.
Concordia finishes their regular season 32-0, undefeated for the first time in school history. Concordia will enter the 2012 NAIA National Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa as the No. 1 seed for the second straight year. The tournament gets underway on November 27 inside the Tyson Events Center.
"We need to make sure we are as healthy as we can be,and as mentally fresh as possible going into a pretty grueling week," head coach Dan Fisher said.
Check cuieagles.com next week for the latest pairings and times.