The Division II championship match was eerily similar to the Division III contest between St. Thomas and Calvin College. The Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears went down 0-2 early in the match, allowing the University of Tampa Spartans to take the first two sets 29-27 and 25-17. The match now had to go to five sets in order for Concordia to win.
During the highly competitive game, neither team truly ever dominated; four out of the five sets were won by the minimum two points. But Concordia took the crucial last three sets 25-23, 25-23, and 16-14 to claim the title. If the winner had been determined by total points Tampa would have come out on top, 114-110, but they just didn’t get ahead when it counted.
Outside hitter Ellie Duffy of Fridley, Minn., led the Golden Bears to the win. The 5’8” senior had 23 kills in the match, with junior opposite Kayla Koenecke not far behind, with 20 kills and 15 digs. On Tampa’s side of the net, junior outside Holly Reschke set the example with 26 kills and no errors. AVCA National Player of the Year Danielle Selkridge contributed 24 kills to the Spartans’ cause.
With the win, Concordia ties the NCAA volleyball all-division record for consecutive championships won. The only other university to claim this honor, Washington University-St. Louis, took the Division III title every year from 1991 to 1996.
This is the third straight year Concordia has eliminated Tampa from the tournament. The two teams met in the finals only two years ago, with Concordia coming out on top 3-1. Last season, the Golden Bears defeated the Spartans in the semifinals. Tampa hasn’t held the division title since 2006, the year before Concordia began its six-years-and-counting reign.
Originally published in February 2013