2004 Women’s Volleyball Preview

Posted on August 26th, 2004 by

After the second straight season of finishing just out of MIAC playoff contention, the Gustavus volleyball team returns in 2004 with its sights set on its first postseason appearance since 2000. Gustavus finished the 2003 season with a record of 18-10, posting a conference record of 6-5 for seventh place. With starters Jessica Schaetzke and Nicole Nesseth lost to graduation, Head Coach Kari Eckheart will build the 2004 Gusties around senior all-conference setter Rachel Batalden (Lamberton, Minn.), senior defensive specialists Jennifer Tischer (Lakeville, Minn.) and Sue Dailey (Owatonna, Minn.), junior rightside hitter Tara Houlihan (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and junior middle hitter Anne Osthus (Olivia, Minn.).

Batalden and Houlihan had outstanding seasons last year and return to anchor the 2004 team. Batalden posted the most assists in MIAC play last season with 504 and was ranked 24th nationally with 1161 assists in 100 games. Houlihan led last year’s team in kills with 387 and in digs with 494. She was also ranked first in the MIAC with 6.76 digs per game.

In addition to Batalden and Houlihan, the Gusties return the trio of Tischer, Dailey, and Osthus, each of whom made significant contributions to last year’s team. Tischer averaged 2.34 digs per game last season and established herself as one of the Gusties most effective servers. Dailey compiled 370 digs while playing in every game in 2003. Osthus led last year’s team in blocks with 81 and recorded 336 kills. Sophomore middle hitter Becca Thompson (Mankato, Minn.), a transfer student from South Dakota State and first-year rightside hitter Jennifer Thelemann (LeSeuer, Minn.), a standout at LeSeuer-Henderson High School have looked good in preseason workouts and also appear capable of contributing right away.

One area that Eckheart looks for her team to show improvement in this season is its ability to claim wins on the road. The Gusties posted a 5-1 record at home in 2003, but were only 1-4 on the road in conference matches. As a result of inconsistent play on the road, the team has fallen just short of the seven-win mark that virtually assures a spot in the postseason. Coach Eckheart notes, “Winning on the road is really important. We’ve done a better job of winning our home matches and now we need to be able to win a couple on the road. I think that will put us over the edge.”

Eckheart will look to her senior leadership to get her team to the postseason. Batalden, Tischer, Dailey, and rightside hitter Sheila Rodel (Bird Island, Minn.) will co-captain this year’s squad and set the tone for a team with twelve first year and sophomore athletes. Coach Eckheart thinks the increased difficulty of this year’s schedule will also make the team stronger when it comes to conference play. “I think we need to be challenged early on because you need to be ready to go once conference play starts,” she comments. “It’s going to be a competitive conference again this year, but our goal is to be a part of that top six.”

Gustavus opens its season on September 1 at UM-Morris before participating in the UW-River Falls Tournament September 3-4. Its first conference match is September 15 vs. Bethel.

General Information
Name: Gustavus Adolphus College
Location: St. Peter, Minn.
Founded: 1862
Enrollment: 2,540
Nickname: Golden Gusties
School Colors: Black and Gold
Home Facilities: Gus Young Court in Lund Arena
Affiliation: NCAA Div. III
President: Jim Peterson
Athletic Director: Al Molde
Athletic Phone: (507) 933-7617

First year of volleyball: 1969
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 3
Last NCAA Tournament / Result: 1986 / Defeated St. Benedict, Lost to Elmhurst

Sports Information
Sports Info Director: Tim Kennedy
Work Phone: (507) 933-7647
E-mail: timgasid@gustavus.edu
Volleyball contact: Sarah Schock
Work Phone: (507) 933-7647
SID Fax: (507) 933-8412
Web site: http://www.gustavus.edu/oncampus/athletics/vb/

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Kari Eckheart
Alma Mater / Year: Iowa State / 1995
Year at Gustavus: Eighth
Head Coach’s office phone: (507) 933-7632
Assistant Coach: Mickey Haller

Player Information

Key Returnees
Rachel Batalden — all-conference, 504 assists in MIAC play (1st in MIAC), 11.6 assists/game (24th in nation)
Tara Houlihan — led team with 387 kills and 494 digs, 6.76 digs/game (1st in MIAC), 3.9 kills/game (6th in MIAC)
Anne Osthus — 336 kills, 4.38 points/game (7th in MIAC), led team with 81 blocks

All Returning Letterwinners
Rachel Batalden (SR, S, 5’6″, Lamberton, MN)
Sue Dailey (SR, DS, 5’3″, Owatonna, MN)
Kristi Forsythe (JR, OH, 5’8″, Forest Lake, MN)
Tara Houlihan (JR, OH, 5’8″, Sioux Falls, MN)
Rachelle Jakobs (SO, S, 5’6″, Montevideo, MN)
Jami Moseng (SO, RH, 5’10”, Montevideo, MN)
Anne Osthus (JR, MH, 5’10”, Olivia, MN)
Sheila Rodel (SR, RH, 5’10”, Bird Island, MN)
Jennifer Tischer (SR, DS, 5’8″, Lakeville, MN)

Letterwinners Lost
Megan Beltz
Anna Clausen
Patria Lawton
Nicole Nesseth
Jessica Schaetzke

Key Newcomers
Jennifer Thelemann (FY, RH, 6’2″, LeSeuer, MN)
Becca Thompson (SO, MH, 5’11”, Mankato, MN, SDSU)

Letterwinners returning: 9
Letterwinners lost: 5
Starters returning: 4
Starters lost: 2

2004 Schedule
9/1 @ UM-Morris
9/3-4 @ UW-River Falls Tournament
9/8 Bethany Lutheran
9/10-11 Gustavus Classic
9/17-18 @ Carleton Classic
9/22 @ St. Olaf
9/25 @ St. Thomas
10/1 @ Macalester
10/13 @ Augsburg
10/14 LUTHER
10/20 @ Hamline
10/25 @ Carleton Triangular
10/27 @ St. Mary’s

2003 Results
8/30 Lebanon Valley L 0-3
8/30 Clarion L 1-3
8/31 Marymount W 3-0
8/31 St. Mary’s (MD) W 3-0
9/6 UPPER IOWA W 3-0
9/9 UM-MORRISW 3-0
9/12 Northwestern College W 3-2
9/12 Viterbo W 3-1
9/13 Kendall W 3-1
9/13 Hamline W 3-1
9/17 @ Bethel L 1-3
9/24 ST. OLAF W 3-0
9/27 ST. THOMAS L 0-3
10/1 @ St. Catherine’s W 3-0
10/7 @ Martin Luther L 2-3
10/10 @ Carleton L 2-3
10/15 AUGSBURG W 3-0
10/17 @ Concordia L 1-3
10/18 @ St. Benedict’s L 0-3
10/22 HAMLINE W 3-0
10/25 CARLETON L 0-3
10/25 MACALESTER L 0-3
10/29 ST. MARY’S W 3-2


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