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Eric Peterson, Published November 03 2011

Cobbers stay on course with sweep over St. Ben's

MOORHEAD – Concordia volleyball coach Tim Mosser doesn’t have to do much to motivate his team, especially his talented senior class.

“They want to be an Elite Eight team this year,” Mosser said. “This class was one set away from going to the Elite Eight four years ago when they were freshmen so they know what they want.”

The Cobbers played determined Thursday at Memorial Auditorium, rolling to a 25-13, 25-12, 25-22 victory against St. Benedict in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinals.

Senior outside hitter Jenna Green led the way with 15 kills and 14 digs. The Cobbers (24-3) have won 12 consecutive matches and host St. Thomas (29-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday for the MIAC tournament championship.

“We want to be MIAC tournament champions,” said Green, who is from Dilworth. “We are all so determined and focused to get that goal.”

The Cobbers remained unbeaten at home this season, winning all nine matches they’ve played on campus. Concordia has won 18 consecutive home matches. The team’s last home loss was Oct. 23, 2009, against Gustavus.

“I don’t think we think about it that much, but it’s ownership of this court. We don’t lose on this court,” said senior Ashley Beseman, who had six kills and a perfect hitting percentage.

“We always talk about defending home court,” Mosser said. “The big thing about that is we don’t play that many matches at home and our gals relish it, they cherish it. We know it’s a long trip for them and we don’t even want to give them a chance. That’s what we came out doing right from the first set.”

The Cobbers raced to a 20-10 lead in the first set en route to a 25-13 victory. Green had a strong opening set with eight kills to help set the tone for the rest of the match.

In the second set, the Cobbers again started strong, building an early 8-1 lead. That quick start fueled a 25-12 win in that set.

“I think we are really focused and really motivated,” said Beseman, who is from Raymond, Minn. “I know we have big goals.”

St. Benedict challenged the Cobbers in the third set, knotting the score at 22-22 after a Concordia hitting error. The Cobbers responded with the next three points to close out the match. Senior setter Amy Sykora, from Rapid City, S.D., scored match point with a service ace.

“We played focused from beginning to end,” Mosser said.

Senior hitter Katie Vohnoutka, from Eden Prairie, Minn., added 11 kills for the Cobbers, who haven’t lost a match since Sept. 21.

“It’s senior leadership,” Mosser said. “It’s pretty for me when you have that kind of leadership.”

Concordia played St. Thomas once during the regular season. The Cobbers earned a 3-0 home victory against the Tommies on Sept. 28.

ST. BENEDICT (kills-blocks-aces): Coleman 2-0-0, Sobieck 7-0-0, Gaydos 0-0-0, Kockelman 1-0-1 (15 assists), Neumann 2-1-0, Alm 8-1-1, Nass 0-0-0, Rachel 1-0-0 (15 digs), Heyl 0-0-0, Stangl 2-2-0, Bassett 0-0-0, Rinde 7-1-0.

CONCORDIA: Green 15-0-1 (14 digs), Loomis 0-0-1, Vohnoutka 11-3-0, Sykora 3-1-1 (33 assists), Reed 5-2-0, Bruggeman 2-2-3, Wiinanen 0-0-0 (14 digs), Beseman 6-2-0.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

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at peterson.areavoices.com