The Concordia (St. Paul) volleyball team will have a line in the NCAA record book all by itself now. The category? Most consecutive national titles won in its sport: seven.
The Golden Bears won their latest Division II title Saturday night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, sweeping Brigham Young University-Hawaii 3-0.
The scores were 25-15, 25-14, 25-20. It was the Golden Bears’ 42nd consecutive victory in NCAA tournament play.
Concordia and Washington University of St. Louis, which won Division III titles from 1991-96, had been tied at six titles in a row.
Against BYU-Hawaii, the Golden Bears dominated. Riley Hanson had 15 kills and hit .636. Emily McDonough had 12 kills and Taylor Dordan a match-high 20 digs.
Concordia (35-3) went into the NCAA playoffs ranked No. 3, but, one by one, the Golden Bears eliminated all their toughest competition. They beat No. 5 Central Missouri and No. 2 Minnesota Duluth in their final two matches of the Central Regional in Duluth, and No. 1 Tampa in the national quarterfinals Friday.
No. 4 BYU-Hawaii was the final hurdle. The Seasiders were 29-1, with a 22-match winning streak. They advanced to the title match with two five-sets wins, led by Shih Ting Chin with a career-high 37 kills on Thursday and 21 kills the next night.
“They play great defense,” Concordia coach Brady Starkey said after the semifinals. “They are kind of one of those teams that keeps hanging around. And they have a kid [Chin] that is a go-to player. She is ridiculous.
“We have a lot of kids that can terminate the ball.”
This is Starkey’s 11th season as Concordia’s coach and the Golden Bears have won at least 30 matches every season.
“We do not think about numbers or look at rankings. … We just talk about the next foe in front of us,” he said.
This was Concordia’s third meeting with BYU-Hawaii. Last season the Golden Bears beat the Seasiders twice, the second time in four sets in the national semifinals.
This time they only needed three.