MILWAUKEE – Concordia University Wisconsin's middle defense came alive on Saturday afternoon in a 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 25-22) victory at Wisconsin Lutheran College. The Falcons recorded 13 total blocks in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference match.
CUW (9-15, 3-4 NACC) had six players finish with at least one block and was led by junior Britta Duchow's (Potter, Wis.) nine block assists. In the third set the Falcons finished with six total blocks and used the momentum changing plays to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Juniors Carley Valentine (De Pere, Wis.) and Gabrielle VanBeaver (Green Bay, Wis.) recorded five and four block assists, respectively. In addition, four players finished with double-figure digs and were led by junior Hannah Griffiths (Antigo, Wis.) and sophomore Kelsey Paramore (Tomahawk, Wis.) who had 13 digs each.
CUW was in control of the match throughout and had a lead of 10 points in the first and eight points in the third set. The win surpasses last season's total, while the team has eight matches remaining on the regular season schedule.
Offensively, Griffiths smashed a team-high 15 kills to record her 10th double-double of the season. Valentine added 22 assists and freshman Karina Klotz (Hubertus, Wis.) assisted on 17 kills.
Erin and Alayna Greenfield paced the Warriors (7-20, 3-4 NACC) with 17 and 13 kills, respectively, while Alexis Hafemeister finished with a match-high 47 assists. Kayla Ridgeman led all players with 25 digs.
The Falcons extended their lead to 10 points, the largest of the match, in the opening set which included a Griffiths kill and multiple Warrior errors. Following a WLC scoring run that saw the advantage diminish to 21-18, VanBeaver and sophomore Jessica Eggebrecht (Napoleon, Ohio) blocked a Warrior attack attempt to change the energy. CUW went on to win 25-21.
After holding leads of 18-13 and 21-16, CUW's offense stalled. WLC's Erin Greenfield hammered three kills to help it achieve a 25-23 second frame win to tie the match.
The third frame is when the Falcons defense rose to the challenge with Duchow and Valentine each recording four block assists. With the help of three blocks early they jumped out a 7-2 lead and cruised to a 25-18 win to take back control of the conference matchup.
The final set was closer with 10 scoring ties and five lead changes, but the Falcons built an eight-point lead, 18-10, they wouldn't relinquish. Griffiths stepped up down the stretch with four kills and two service aces before CUW won 25-18.
The Falcons next play at Rockford University on Tuesday at 7 p.m.