Marshall, Minn. – Mariya Sampson had 14 kills and hit .394 to lead Concordia (St. Paul) past Central Oklahoma 25-20, 25-23, 25-22 on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Division II volleyball tournament.
The Golden Bears (29-3) are the second seed in the Central Region, behind host Southwest Minnesota State, and ranked third nationally.
“We did a good job of controlling some nerves early in the match,” Concordia coach Brady Starkey said, “and showed some more nerves in the second game but balanced ourselves out from there. The match could have taken a different turn had they won that second game, but pulling that one off allowed us to relax a little bit more.”
Hope Schiller of the Golden Bears had nine kills and 10 digs while Elizabeth Mohr had 42 assists vs. Central Oklahoma (29-6).
“Our offense was pretty efficient and Elmo made some good decisions throughout the match,” Starkey said, referring to Mohr.
Concordia will play sixth-seeded Missouri Western State, which upset third seed Nebraska-Kearney 3-1 in its opening match, at 5 p.m. Friday in the region semifinals.
Minnesota Duluth 3, Northern State 2: The Bulldogs, seeded fifth, held off the fourth-seeded Wolves 25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 21-25, 15-12. Sarah Kelly led UMD (25-6) with 23 kills and eight blocks while Holly Vancura had 13 kills and 20 digs.
Laura Snyder had 16 kills for Northern State (23-7), which made only four errors in the final three sets.
Southwest Minnesota State 3, Arkansas Tech 0: The top-seeded Mustangs (29-3) swept the previously unbeaten Golden Suns 25-9, 25-20, 25-21 behind Taylor Reiss’ 17 kills. She hit .400 and also had seven digs. Arkansas Tech (35-1) is 1-5 in five NCAA tournament appearances.
Southwest State Minnesota, ranked No. 3 nationally, has won seven matches in a row since a 3-2 loss at UMD on Nov. 3. They will meet the Bulldogs again at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the second region semifinal.