The Gustavus volleyball team’s hitters proved to be too much for Bethel University as the Gusties swept the Royals 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-18) in Arden Hills on Wednesday. Head Coach Kari Eckheart’s tallied 46 kills compared to 28 for Bethel. Meghan Gehring (Jr., Eau Claire, Wis.) and Olivia Warren (Fy., Goodhue, Minn.) paced Gustavus with 12 and 10 kills, respectively. The Gusties improved to 15-2 overall and 3-1 in the MIAC and the Royals fell to 5-11 overall and 0-4 in conference play.
A serving run by Nicki Ainsworth (So., Eden Prairie, Minn.) fueled an 8-1 Gustavus scoring run in the first set for an early 11-5 advantage. The Gusties’ lead grew to 20-8 with a similar 9-1 run after four kills from Olivia Warren and Bethel hitting miscues. Gustavus clinched the set at 25-16 when Bridget Burtzel (Sr., Cold Spring, Minn.) set up Meghan Gehring for the kill.
The Gustie hitters continued to play well in the second set as the team opened up a 19-10 lead as Gustavus registered 10 kills before hitting an error. A serving error by Bethel ended the set in the Gusties favor 25-18. The third set produced similar results as the Royal defense was unable to contain the Gustavus offense as the Gusties put together two separate 4-0 scoring runs en route to the 25-18 victory.
In addition to double-digit kills from Gehring and Warren, seven other Gustavus players contributed one kill including Nicki Ainsworth with seven in two sets. The Gusties were outblocked for just the fourth time this season as Bethel posted eight blocks compared to four for Gustavus.
The Gusties will square off against sixth-ranked St. Thomas on Friday in St. Paul at 7 p.m.