The Gustavus volleyball team lost a tough, five-game match to the College of St. Benedict, the #21 ranked team in the country (24-30, 21-30, 30-28, 30-26, 10-15). Sophomore Teri Knapper and junior Shantelle Needham led all players with 19 kills, while junior Gusties Anne Osthus and Tara Houlihan both had 17. Gustavus, however, committed 13 receiving errors which proved costly towards the end of the match. The Blazers are now 12-1 overall and 6-1 in the MIAC, while the Gusties fall to 14-6 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
Both teams played evenly in the first game and had the game tied at nine before St. Ben’s started to pull away. First year Emily Stessman won three straight service aces to pull the Blazers away en route to a 30-24 win.
Game two started similarly to game one, but the Gusties built a five point lead midway through the game. Again, four key service aces helped pull the Blazers back in the game and into the lead. Up 21-20, St. Ben’s went on a 9-1 scoring run to win the game 30-21.
Gustavus held off the Blazers in game three by building an early lead and later led by as much as five points. St. Ben’s came back to tie the game at 25 behind the solid serving of senior Claire Loesch, but the Gusties countered with some strong serving of their own from first year Bri Alsides and two key kills from junior Anne Osthus to close out the game 30-28.
The Gusties came out strong again in game four as they gained the early lead and never lost it. Gustavus led by seven points twice during the game behind a balanced attack and won the game 30-26.
The decisive game five was tight early on as both teams played to a 7-7 tie. Strong serving from first year Emily Stessman again proved valuable for the Blazers as they built an 11-7 lead that they never relinquished on their way to a 15-10 and an important conference win.
The Gusties will be back in action next week as they travel to Minneapolis to play Augsburg College on Wednesday before hosting Luther College on Thursday. Both start times are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.