The Gustavus volleyball team tallied four victories at the Rhodes Invitational over the Labor Day weekend in Memphis, Tenn. to begin the 2008 season at 4-0. Head Coach Kari Eckheart and the Gusties posted a 3-0 win over SUNY-Brockport and a 3-1 over host Rhodes College on Saturday, and defeated McMurry University 3-0 and #13-ranked Austin College 3-1 on Sunday afternoon. Gustavus begins the season 4-0 for the second consecutive season and the second time since 1987.
The Gusties began the weekend by defeating SUNY-Brockport 3-0 (25-17, 25-11, 25-20) on Saturday afternoon. First-year players Olivia Warren (Goodhue, Minn.) and Angela Ahrendt (Shoreview, Minn./Roseville Area) made an immediate impact as both players led the team with seven kills each. Senior setter Bridget Burtzel (Cold Spring, Minn./ROCORI) paced Gustavus with 15 assists in the first two sets, while Sam Broderius (Hector, Minn./Buffalo Lake-Hector) contributed 10 assists in the final set. Emily Klein (Red Wing, Minn.) compiled 16 digs and recorded three service aces during the match.
Gustavus continued to play well into the night session after knocking off host Rhodes College 3-1 by the scores of 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, and 25-13. Blockers made their presence felt at the net as the team amassed 16 block assists and two solo blocks. Meghan Gehring (Jr., Eau Claire, Wis./North) led the squad with five block assists and both solo blocks, while putting down 10 kills. Other Gusties with double-digit kill totals included Olivia Warren with 16 and Angela Ahrendt with 12. Bridget Burtzel dished out 43 assists, as Emily Klein had 13 digs. Serving was also a key in Gustavus’ win as the team tallied nine service aces.
Success carried over into Sunday as the Gusties defeated McMurry University 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-21) on Sunday. Warren and Ahrendt paced a balanced offensive attack with eight kills a piece, while Gehring had seven, and Nicki Ainsworth (So., Eden Prairie, Minn.) had six. Burtzel distributed 28 assists, and Klein recorded 18 digs.
The biggest win for Gustavus came in its last match as it defeated #13-ranked Austin College by the scores of 16-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-22. Three players finished the match with double-digit kill totals, including Warren with 15, Gehring with 12, and Ahrendt with 10 kills. Janey Helland (So., Mapleton, Minn./Maple River) and Britta Bolm (Sr., Alexandria, Minn./Jefferson) rounded out the offensive attack with nine and five kills, respectively. Klein contributed 43 digs in a match that featured several long rallies, as Burtzel had 40 assists in the winning effort.
The Gusties return to action on Friday, September 5 at 4:00 p.m. as they host the five-team Gustavus Classic at Gus Young Court.