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Ben Karkela , Published September 29 2011

No. 12 Concordia sweeps No. 11 St. Thomas in volleyball

MOORHEAD – The senior members of the Concordia volleyball team finally got a chip off their shoulders.

Concordia, ranked 12th in the latest NCAA Division III poll, picked up its biggest win of the season with a 25-20, 25-21, 25-23 sweep over No. 11 St. Thomas in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match Wednesday at Memorial Auditorium.

This marks the first time the seniors from Concordia have beaten their conference rival.

“It’s the one goal I’ve had for four years,” Katie Vohnoutka said. “Beat the Tommies.”

Vohnoutka led the Cobbers with 11 kills and had a .381 hitting percentage with seven blocks. The senior hitter from Eden Prairie, Minn., recently eclipsed 1,000 career kills.

St. Thomas had won the last five matches in the series and 10 of the last 13.

“This is a huge win for us,” Concordia’s Jenna Green said. “We proved to ourselves and to other people that we are a top 10 team.”

With the win, Concordia (14-3, 3-1 MIAC) moves into a tie for first place in the conference with St. Thomas (13-3, 3-1) and three other teams.

“To beat a conference opponent like that is huge,” Concordia head coach Tim Mosser said. “St. Thomas is a very athletic team, and if you let them get the advantage, they’re tough to beat.”

The Cobbers started swiftly in the first set, gaining an 11-3 lead. The Tommies offense had trouble figuring out how to get past Concordia’s front row.

Green wowed the crowd of 354, leaping high in the air and recording a kill that resembled a slam dunk that put the Cobbers up 17-6.

Concordia never gave up the lead and won the first set 25-20. Green finished the game with 10 kills and a team-high 19 digs.

St. Thomas kept it close in the second match, trading the lead twice before the Cobbers took the set 25-21.

Kelly Foley led the Tommies with 12 kills while Kaitlain Wachter tallied a match-high 20 digs.

In the third set, Concordia never gave up the lead and sealed the match on an attack error.

“Concordia took it to us,” St. Thomas head coach Thanh Pham said. “Give them all the credit because they played well tonight.”

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Ben Karkela at (701) 241-5549