The top-ranked Concordia-St. Paul volleyball team (32-4) defeated co-No. 5 BYU-Hawaii 3-1 on Friday in the NCAA Division II volleyball national semifinals (20-25, 25-11, 25-19, 25-14) on the campus of the University of West Florida.
The win improves Concordia's NCAA tournament win streak to 35 consecutive matches, as its all-time NCAA Tournament record improves to 43-4 in 10 appearances. Concordia is now a perfect 7-0 in seven trips to the Elite Eight.
The Golden Bears will continue their quest for an NCAA (all divisions) record-tying sixth-consecutive national championship in the final Saturday at 7 p.m. central time against No. 7 Tampa. Concordia is 5-1 in six prior appearances in the national championship.
“Our girls did a really good job of defending the court,” Concordia head coach Brady Starkey said. “Everything they threw at us, we defended as hard as we could. Our serve receive did a really good job of fighting to get us in system and allow our offense flourish.”
BYU-Hawaii opened the match with a 4-1 lead in the first set and didn’t look back the rest of the frame. Concordia tied the score 9-9, but was never able to take the lead. The Seasiders gained their largest lead of the set at 20-15 to force a Concordia timeout. After the break, the Golden Bears responded with four of the next six points for a 22-19 deficit, but BYU-Hawaii ended the set with four of the final five points.
The Golden Bears then responded with a dominating second set. They improved their hitting percentage from .227 to .643 for a convincing 25-11 victory. Leading 13-10 midway through the set, the Bears rallied for nine straight points.
The Golden Bears were led by Kayla Koenecke as the AVCA All-American right side hitter tallied a career-high 23 kills on 35 attempts with only one error for a .629 attack percentage. She also tallied 15 digs for her team-leading 12th double-double of the season.
Ellie Duffy (16), Cassie Haag (14) and Ashley Murtha (12) also finished in double-digits with Amanda Konetchy picking up 57 assists.
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