The Gustavus volleyball team ended their season Tuesday night with a three-game loss to St. Thomas in the first round of the MIAC Tournament (35-37, 25-30, 27-30). The Gusties finished with an overall record of 19-7 and 8-3 in conference play. With the win, St. Thomas improved their overall record to 20-13.
Junior outside hitter Tara Houlihan led all players in the match with 15 kills and 13 digs, good for her 17th double-double of the season. Senior setter Rachel Batalden also contributed 42 assists, bringing her career assist total to 4,012 and making her only the second player in school history to surpass the four thousand career assist mark. Senior defensive specialist Sue Dailey also added 16 digs and two service aces to the teams’ effort. Junior outside hitter Erika Wetzel led the way for the Tommies with 12 kills and 15 digs.
The match started off in a marathon as Gustavus rallied from a 25-19 deficit in game one to a 29-28 advantage. St. Thomas, however, broke four Gustie game points to claim the first game at 37-35. The Tommies carried that momentum, jumping out to substantial leads in each of the next two games, but Gustavus again staged a comeback from a ten point deficit in game two and an eight point deficit in game three to pull each game within two points. The Gusties’ 35 hitting errors, however, proved too costly as St. Thomas prevailed 30-25 and 30-27 in the final two games.
MIAC Tournament play will continue on Thursday as #4 St. Thomas heads to Northfield to face #1 Carleton at 7 pm. #3 St. Ben’s will face #2 Concordia in the other semifinal match.