Riding a 45-match win streak, Concordia (Calif.) is ranked No. 1 for the sixth-straight time in the first regular-season edition of the 2013 Tachikara-NAIA Coaches' Top 25 poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The defending national champions recorded 22-of-23 first-place votes and 653 total points.
Standing at 7-0 on the young season, Concordia looks for its 46th-straight win Tuesday against Cal State San Marcos, a team that was ranked 20th in the preseason. The current streak is tied for fourth-longest in NAIA history, which dates back to the start of 2012. Jessica Israel leads the No. 1-ranked offense, in terms of kills, with an average of 4.9 per set.
With the top ranking, Concordia (Calif.) pushes its all-time total to nine No. 1 positions and looks to become the fifth school (since 2000) to have double-digit totals. Concordia has the longest active streak in the Top 25 as it has been ranked for 87-straight polls, dating back to the start of the 2006 season. For the last 22 polls, Concordia has either been ranked Nos. 1 or 2.
The Eagles made it 46 straight on Tuesday night with a 3-0 straight-set win over #20 CSU San Marcos, at Oceanside High School, in San Marcos, CA. Madison Ekis led the Eagles with 12 kills in 30 attempts, and Jessica Israel was there in support with 11 winners, hitting a scorching .455. Le Mi had seven kills and three blocks and Briana Hughes had six kills and three blocks in the middle. The Eagles hit .287, compared to .152 for the Cougars.
"Tonight was a total team effort and we responded well to adversity and the runs made by San Marcos," Concordia head coach Trevor Johnson said. "Jessica Israel was good again. As a team, we made some errors and there are some things we are still working on. We are working on our maturity and still have a lot of things to get better at."
San Marcos took a 6-4 lead in the first set, but Concordia responded with five straight, let by three aces from Jenee Henderson. A kill from Ellie Ladensack and two kills from Ekis made it 16-10 Eagles. A kill from Mi and block from Mi and Ekis pushed the lead to 22-13 Concordia. An ace from Ekis ended the match 25-15, in Concordia's favor.
Concordia took an early 11-8 lead in set two on kills from Ekis and Isreal. The Cougars came storming back with four straight later in the set to tie the match at 14. The Eagles scored three straight in response, but San Marcos came right back with four straight to lead 18-17. The teams went back-and-forth until the match was tied at 20. Two straight kills from Mi, courtesy of Henderson, and a San Marcos error made it 23-20 Eagles. The squads traded points to a 25-23 finish.
The third game was close early, but the Cougars got on another run to lead 14-9. Concordia's Mackenzie Gromek drilled an ace and Hughes slammed a kill to help Concordia pull within two, 14-12. A kill from Israel, San Marcos error, and a Mindy Knight ace tied the game at 17. Concordia led 22-20, but the Cougars wouldn't go down and scored three straight. Concordia finished in a flurry with kills from Hannah Andrews, Israel, and block from Israel and Hughes to steal the set, 25-23.
The Eagles will open 2013 GSAC action on September 21 at San Diego Christian at 7 pm.