The No. 2 Concordia Eagles finished up their 2012 Montana trip with 3-0 wins over Montana State-Northern and (RV) Great Falls in Great Falls, MT on Saturday, August 18.
CU started the day against MSU-Northern and took a quick three-set win. Madison Ekis led the Eagles with 11 kills and setters Elizabeth Younglove and Jenee Henderson passed extremely well.
Concordia cruised in the first two sets, 25-13 and 25-16. The Northern Lights played tougher in the final set, losing 25-20.
In the afternoon matinee Concordia battled the host Argos of the University of Great Falls. CU head coach Dan Fisher said it was his team's best performance of the tournament, with Great Falls being the best team they faced. Concordia handled their business, winning 3-0.
Libero Kara Vincitorio was all over the court with 15 digs, in what coach Fisher called the best he's seen her play in his two seasons. She added a service ace in her efforts. CU's right side hitters dominated as well. Madison Ekis had 10 kills and 0 errors, for a .769 hitting percentage. Alex Bozoian had nine kills and one error, for a .571 hitting percentage. New middle blocker Le Mi had six kills and a .750 hitting percentage.
"Their team looks like they have really good chemistry and they flow well together," said Marino, a two-time All-American and the reigning NAIA Player of the Year. "(Kelsey VanUden) is definitely their best hitter. I look forward to see how they're doing at the end of the season. They have a lot of room to grow."
CU had one block, compared to three from UGF. The Eagles hit a scorching .452 and .500 in the final two sets. Concordia setters Elizabeth Younglove and Jenee Henderson had 17 and 18 assists respectively.
The first two sets were close, with Concordia winning 25-19 and 25-18. The Eagles got stronger as the match went on and won by a convincing margin of 25-13 in the final set.
"I love playing teams like that, because they make you pay for every little mistake you make," said UGF head coach Arunas Duda. "Those are the things we need to start cleaning up."
"We were happy to come and get the results we wanted," head coach Dan Fisher said. "It was great practice on traveling, getting off a plane, and playing well. I am glad we improved as the tournament went on and played our best in the last game."
"I love a smaller university," Marino said. "And I think NAIA is a little underestimated at times. There are a lot of D-1 and D-2 schools we can play right with. It's good competition all around."
The Eagles are back in action next Thursday at 10:30 am against the College of Idaho in the Biola Classic at Biola University in La Mirada, CA.