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.
More from Star Tribune
More From Sports
The Miami Marlins paid tribute to Ichiro Suzuki by giving him a collage of photographs showing each of his first 3,000 hits.
New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard left his start against the Washington Nationals on Sunday in the second inning with an apparent injury.
An English policeman wearing a gorilla costume while crawling the London Marathon has finally finished the race, almost a week after starting.
Travis Shaw was out of the Milwaukee Brewers' lineup Sunday, one day after suffering a bruised right hand when hit by a pitch.
The Twins are looking to finish with a 4-1 road trip, which would be much needed after playing so poorly during the last homestand