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Madison Ekis elevates against Westmont
Volleyball - Tue, Sep. 24, 2013

The top-five teams locked down their positions, led by No. 1 Concordia (Calif.), in the third regular-season edition of the 2013 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Top 25 poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Eagles gathered their eighth-straight top ranking after posting 653 total points and 22-of-23 first-place votes. Concordia is followed in the same order as last week's top five: No. 2 Texas at Brownsville, No. 3 Biola (Calif.), No. 4 Madonna (Mich.) and No. 5 Midland (Neb.).

Concordia is riding one of the NAIA's longest all-time win streak, currently at 47-straight, as the squad heads into a top 10 showdown Tuesday at No. 10 Westmont (Calif.). The Eagles are 9-0 on the season and have not lost since Dec. 3, 2011 in the NAIA National Championship final against Texas at Brownsville. The win streak is currently No. 4 in the NAIA record book.  Twelve of 23 conferences are represented throughout the Top 25, led by the Golden State Athletic Conference with five ranked teams, Concordia, Biola, Westmont, Vanguard and No. 21 The Master's (Calif.).  With the top ranking, Concordia (Calif.) pushes its all-time total to 11 No. 1 positions and is the fifth school (since 2000) to have double-digit totals.  For the last 24 polls, Concordia has either been ranked Nos. 1 or 2, dating back to Oct. 11, 2011.  Concordia has the longest active streak in the Top 25 as it has been ranked for 89-straight polls, dating back to the start of the 2006 season. 

Concordia welcomed the #10-ranked Westmont Warriors on Tuesday night, September 24.  Concordia improved to 10-0 and won their 48th straight with a three-set win over the Warriors.  Madison Ekis led in kills with 13, and Jessica Israel added 10.  Le Mi had six bombs, hitting .750, and fellow middle Briana Hughes added another six, while hitting .462.  Mindy Knight provided a punch off the bench with five kills.  Hughes controlled the middle with six blocks, and the Eagles dominated the net, 10 blocks to four.

"That's a good, scrappy Westmont team we beat tonight," Concordia head coach Trevor Johnson said.  "It was nice to see our girls come off the bench and play well.  We train hard every day and we have a lot of girls with experience.  As a coach, it's nice to have depth."

In the first set the Eagles raced to a 10-5 lead as they scored five straight with Jenee Henderson serving.  The points came from an ace, block from Israel, kill from Ekis, and a block from Ekis and Briana Hughes.  The Warriors closed the gap, 11-8, but Concordia scored five straight in response on two kills from Le Mi, and winners from Hughes, Ekis, and Ellie Ladensack.  Concordia finished with four straight on kills from Ladensack, Ekis, and Jenee Henderson for the 25-16 win.

In game two, it was close early, but Concordia took a 10-7 lead on kills from Ekis and Mindy Knight.  Westmont called a timeout and Hughes and Ekis came out of the break with a block.  Ekis and Knight both grabbed kills again, and Hughes and Israel swatted one back to make it 17-11.  Concordia went sideout to the finish to win 25-18.

Concordia dominated the third set, going up 13-6 with early kills from Henderson and Israel.  Concordia held off Westmont from there and finished with winners from Hughes and Ekis to take it 25-14.

Concordia improved to 10-0 and 2-0 in GSAC, while Westmont dropped their first GSAC match (1-1) and fell to 13-2 overall.  The Eagles will travel to Phoenix, AZ on Saturday to play Arizona Christian at 3 pm.