The Gustavus volleyball team recorded wins over Martin Luther College and 20th-ranked UW-La Crosse during the first day of the Gustavus Classic in St. Peter on Friday. The Gusties swept Martin Luther 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-16) in their first match and overcame a slow start to upset UW-La Crosse by the scores of 14-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-14. Gustavus, which improved to 6-0 this season, will face the College of St. Scholastica and Viterbo University on Saturday in St. Peter.
Gustavus came out strong against Martin Luther as the offense tallied 13 kills to win the first set 25-14. The Knights fought back in set two for a 24-22 lead. However, the Gusties scored four straight points, capped off by a block from Britta Bolm (Sr., Alexandria, Minn.) and Angela Ahrendt (Shoreview, Minn.) to close out the set 26-24. The squad pulled away in the third set, 25-16, for the victory. Meghan Gehring (Jr., Eau Claire, Wis.) and Olivia Warren (Fy., Goodhue, Minn.) led Gustavus with nine kills each, while Bridget Burtzel (Sr., Cold Spring, Minn.) recorded a double-double with 30 assists and 11 digs. Emily Klein (Sr., Red Wing, Minn.) paced Gustavus with 17 digs. Jamie Eternick led Martin Luther with seven kills and Emily Rasmussen compiled 18 digs.
In the second match of the day, UW-La Crosse stormed out to a 25-14 first set victory behind powerful hitting and Gustie hitting errors. The second set was a back-and-forth battle as UW-La Crosse held a 23-22 lead. Again, Gustavus won the next three points as a result of two kills from Gehring and an Eagle ball handling error to even the match at one set each. Momentum shifted in the Gusties’ direction in the third and fourth sets as Gustavus became more aggressive serving and blocking to earn the victory.
Gehring paved the way for head coach Kari Eckheart’s squad with 16 kills and seven total blocks. Warren joined Gehring in double-digit kills with 10 and contributed 14 digs. Burtzel dished out 43 assists to go along with 10 digs, while Klein recorded 23 digs and three service aces. UW-La Crosse was led by Amber Schoonover and Brianne Stankus with 14 and 13 kills, respectively. Four players finished with double-digit digs. However, the key stat was Gustavus outblocking the Eagles 14-6.
Gustavus will look to extend its winning streak on Saturday at 10 a.m. against St. Scholastica and at 2 p.m. against Viterbo in St. Peter.