Dominant net play propelled the Gustavus volleyball team past St. Olaf 3-1 Wednesday night by the scores of 30-17, 25-30, 30-27, and 30-26. The Gustie defense proved to be the deciding factor as Coach Eckheart’s team recorded 18 total blocks compared to only 10 for the Oles. Three players finished the match with double-digit kills including Jen Thelemann with 16, Meghan Gehring with 11, and Andrea Kron with 10. Gustavus improves to 9-2 overall and 2-0 in the MIAC, while St. Olaf drops to 5-5 overall and 0-2 in the MIAC.
The Gusties got off to a quick start in the match compliments of a 15-3 run to win game one decisively 30-17. St. Olaf gained momentum back after a shaky start to even the match by winning game two 30-25.
The pivotal third game remained close with both teams unable to generate any significant scoring runs. Gustavus called a timeout when St. Olaf built a 24-21 lead. The Gusties subsequently went on a 5-0 run capped off by a block from Meghan Gehring (Eau Claire, Wisc.) and Jen Thelemann (Le Sueur, Minn.) to get a 26-24 lead. St. Olaf was unable to respond falling 30-27 in game three.
Gustavus pulled out to an early 13-7 lead in game four before St. Olaf put together a 10-1 run of their own for a 17-14 edge. The Gusties chipped away at the lead before St. Olaf hitting errors gave Gustavus a 28-24 lead that was not relinquished. Thelemann sealed the victory with a kill on the Gusties’ fourth game point.
Nicki Ainsworth (Eden Prairie, Minn.) paced Gustavus across the net with three solo blocks and five block assists. Gehring had one solo block and seven block assists to along with her 11 kills. Bridget Burtzel (Cold Spring, Minn.) tallied 41 assists, while Emily Klein compiled 19 digs in the winning effort.
Gustavus will host a quadrangular tournament this Saturday with Hamline, Northwestern, and Buena Vista. The Gusties open with Northwestern at 11:00 am.