Heading into the third weekend of the young season, the Varsity Concordia Volleyball team appeared to possibly be in a rebuilding year. After graduating seven seniors from the 2021 team (four of which are playing collegiate volleyball this Fall), the 2022 team was a pedestrian 5-6 on the season.
Success has been the norm as the Crusaders have reached at least the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) Final Four each of the last eight seasons, including winning the State Title in 2018. Many alumni of the program are playing in college, and the pressure of staying at the top rests on the next wave of players. This year’s team returned nine varsity players from the previous season, but only a few had seen extensive varsity minutes.
It may have taken a few games at the beginning of the year, but the Crusaders seem to have found their stride en route to winning the Spring ISD Tournament title.
Concordia dominated their opponents without dropping a set over the 3-day tournament in seven matches. They faced public and private schools including Elkins, Cy Park, Dekaney, Cy Springs, Fort Bend Christian, Tomball, and St. Agnes Academy. The team now sits at 12-6 Overall and has only lost 16 sets on the year.
In the semifinal match, Concordia bested cross-town rival and UIL 6A school Tomball High School, defeating the Cougars in straight sets, 25-18 and 27-25. Tomball, TX is one of the fastest growing areas in the Houston metro and is home to three high schools: Tomball, Tomball Memorial, and Concordia. Tomball and Tomball Memorial high schools both house almost x5 the amount of students as Concordia and will continue to grow as the area grows.
In the tournament final, which happened immediately following the semifinal match, the Crusaders had to gear up for battle with long-time TAPPS rival, that of an older sister, St. Agnes Academy. Concordia won the match 26-24 and 25-16 handling business like they did over the course of the tournament through great serve receive passing, applying pressure to the Tiger offense from the service line, and finishing rallies with kills and limited errors.
St Agnes, winners of two of the last three TAPPS 6A Volleyball State Championships, has been a thorn in Concordia’s side most recently having knocked out the Crusaders in the final four in 2021. According to MaxPreps, St Agnes had previously beaten Concordia the last five times they played with Concordia’s last victory coming in the 2018 TAPPS 6A State Championship game when the Crusaders won in 5 sets.
Over the course of the Spring ISD tournament, Concordia had 42 aces (averaged three per set) with setter Caitlyn C. (Sr.) leading the team with 12 total aces. Through the seven matches and 14 sets played, the Crusaders had 188 total kills, an average of 13.4 kills/set. Outside hitter Arianna M. (Fr.) led the team with 73 kills averaging 5.2 kills/set. Concordia averaged 16 points from aces and kills each set (25 points are needed to win a set), not to mention the blocks and errors from their opponents that helped make quick work for the Crusaders.
Another impressive stat the Crusaders had during the tournament was a 2.27 passer rating. During each match, every serve receive pass is scored on a scale of 0-3. Teams aim for an average score of 2.0 or better which usually allows them to run an effective offense with multiple hitting options each attack.
Some of the best passers in the country average a 2.3-2.4 level and given Concordia averaged 2.27 as a team combining all of their passers, it was no surprise the offense was rolling and the team had a side out efficiency of 62.3%. That meant that almost 2 out of every 3 serves from the other team, the Crusaders won the point!
Next up, the Crusaders have two trips to College Station to play public schools College Station HS and A&M Consolidated with the Houston Open Volleyball Tournament in between their trips to Aggieland. The next home game to see the team in action will be Tuesday, Sept. 6th when they host Episcopal at 6 pm inside Crusader Gymnasium.
For more information about the volleyball program at Concordia visit www.SaderNationTX.com/Volleyball