FOND DU LAC, Wis. – After dropping the opening set Wednesday night, Concordia University Wisconsin claimed the next three frames for a 3-1 (19-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-19) victory at Marian University inside Sadoff Gymnasium.
The Falcons win clinched the fifth seed for the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament, which begins on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Their opponent is still undetermined because three teams are within a match of each other in the standings.
Junior Carley Valentine (De Pere, Wis.) was again impressive, as she finished with a match-high 30 assists, to go along with 15 digs, seven kills and eight blocks (seven assisted). Freshman Karina Klotz (Hubertus, Wis.) also recorded a double-double with 16 assists and 15 digs.
CUW (12-15, 6-4 NACC) struggled offensively in the opening two sets, smashing 22 kills but committing 22 errors. It cleaned up the miscues in the third and fourth frames, and finished with 31 kills compared to nine attack errors down the stretch.
Sophomore Jessica Eggebrecht (Napoleon, Ohio) and senior Ashley Faber (Kewaskum, Wis.) paced the Falcons with 10 kills each, while junior Hannah Griffiths (Antigo, Wis.) had nine kills and 16 digs. The Falcons had a balanced offensive attack with six players having at least seven kills.
Anna Smit led MU (8-19, 3-7 NACC) with 11 kills. Morgan Dercks had 18 assists and seven digs, while Katrina Jansen led all players 29 digs.
Following a kill by junior Britta Duchow (Potter, Wis.) and consecutive attack errors by the Sabres, the Falcons cut their deficit to 20-18. MU answered by scoring five of the next six points to claim the opening set, 25-19.
The second stanza was CUW's worst offensive output, as it -.053 after hitting 13 errors and successfully completing 10 kills, but still found a way to even the match. MU's offense also stalled and had just six kills in the set, but did move the scoreboard to 23-22 before the Falcons received kills from Faber and Duchow to tie the contest at a set apiece.
CUW consistently held at least a six-point advantage in the third set behind stellar play from a multitude of players. Griffiths had four kills, while Duchow, Eggebrecht and Faber all hammered three kills. The Falcons grabbed the frame, 25-17, to shift the momentum in their favor and take a 2-1 set lead.
Junior Gabrielle VanBeaver scored back-to-back points for CUW to give it a 20-14 lead. The differential stayed until the final point was recorded and the Falcons were victorious.
CUW returns to the court on Saturday for a 2 p.m. Senior Day NACC matchup against Aurora University inside the R. John Buuck Field House. The team will honor their three seniors – Lauren Dumke, Ashley Faber and Lauren Gonring – prior to the match.