The Gustavus volleyball team defeated St. Olaf College 3-1 (30-25, 30-23, 31-33, 30-17) Wednesday evening in St. Peter. The win is the Gusties’ eighth consecutive, and the team’s sixth conference win of the season. Gustavus improves its overall record to 14-3 and its conference record to 6-0. The Oles fall to 6-9 overall and 2-4 in MIAC play.
St. Olaf got out to a fast start in the first game, winning three of the first four points. However, the Gusties battled back and took their first lead at 5-4 when Andrea Kron (Jr., Cold Spring, Minn.) recorded a kill. Gustavus was able to extend its lead to 9-6 when Kron recorded another kill, but the Oles managed to fight back and tie the game at 14-14. The next point Kron recorded yet another big kill and Gustavus took the lead for good at 15-14. The two teams battled out long points near the end of the game, but with the Gusties leading 29-25 Kron knocked down the game-winning kill.
The Oles started the second game strong, winning four of the first five points. However, Gustavus tied the game at 5-5 and the two teams stayed tied for a while. Not until the score was 10-10 did the Gusties finally pull away, winning seven of the next eight points for a 17-11 lead. Becca Thompson (Sr., Mankato, Minn.) recorded a big kill to put Gustavus on top 26-20. Danielle Gimmestad (Fy., Marshall, Minn.) eventually blocked a St. Olaf attack and the ball landed safely for a 30-23 win.
Gustavus started the third game strong for a change and jumped out to a 5-1 lead. The Oles then went on a tear of their own, winning the next six points for a 7-5 lead. The two teams stayed tied until 11-11 when the Gusties won four of five points. Bridget Burtzel (So., Cold Spring, Minn.) set up Gimmestad who hit the kill for a 15-12 lead. The Oles managed to tie the game at 17-17 and then took the lead when a Gustavus block landed out. The Gusties went ahead, winning five of six points. Jennifer Thelemann (Jr., Le Sueur, Minn.) hit a kill to put Gustavus ahead 29-27 but the Oles fought back to tie the game at 29-29. The teams battled and in the end St. Olaf was on top when Andrea Otteman tipped the ball over Gustie defenders for a 33-31 win.
Gustavus jumped out to a 9-3 lead when an Ole shot sailed wide. Thelemann hit a kill that landed deep in the St. Olaf zone for a 14-7 lead. The Gusties played steady and kept their lead, and at 19-10 Thompson placed a booming kill to give the Gusties a ten-point lead. Burtzel set up Thompson to hit her 11th kill of the night and gave Gustavus a 29-17 lead. The Gusties won the next point to win the game 30-17, and the match 3-1.
Gustavus had a balanced attack throughout the night with four players in double-digit kills. Kron led with 18, while Thelemann had 13, Thompson and Jessica Plemel (Sr., Owatonna, Minn.) had 11. Burtzel had 51 set assists, while Emily Klein (So., Red Wing, Minn.) led the team with 28 defensive digs. Otteman led the Ole attack with 16 kills, Christine Brook had 15 and Jessica Levin added 10. Audrey Volstad had 44 set assists for St. Olaf, while Otteman had 24 digs.
The Gusties travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to play in the Border Battle Tournament on Friday and Saturday. The tournament puts four teams from the MIAC conference against four from the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Post Game Notes
The Gusties picked up their eighth consecutive win, which is the longest streak since 2004 when the team won 10 straight.
Gustavus, which is now 6-0 in MIAC play ,is tied for first place with Concordia. The Cobbers are ranked #4 in the most recent AVCA Division III poll. The Gusties received 21 votes but are not ranked in the top 25.
The Gusties are now 14-3 overall and that is the best start in Coach Kari Eckheart’s 10-year tenure at Gustavus.
Emily Klein recorded 28 digs in the match pushing her over the 800 dig mark for her career. She moved into 7th place on the Gustavus career digs list. She is on pace to become the first player in Gustavus history to compile 1,000 digs in the first two years of her career.