The Gustavus volleyball team posted a 2-0 record after defeating both Luther College and Buena Vista University 3-1 on the first day of the MIAC-IIAC Border Battle in Mount Vernon, Iowa. The 21st-ranked Gusties improved their overall record to 18-3 with the victories. Head coach Kari Eckheart’s squad will wrap up the Border Battle against Cornell College and the University of Dubuque on Saturday.
Gustavus started the tournament defeating Luther College 24-26, 25-22, 25-21, and 25-19. Both squads played scrappy defense, which resulted in long rallies. The Gusties were paced by Nicki Ainsworth (So., Eden Prairie, Minn.) with 14 kills. Meghan Gehring (Jr., Eau Claire, Wis.) and Britta Bolm (Sr., Alexandria, Minn.) also contributed 12 and nine kills, respectively, in the balanced Gustavus attack. Emily Klein (Sr., Red Wing, Minn.) compiled 32 digs, while Bridget Burtzel (Sr., Cold Spring, Minn.) tallied 38 assists and nine digs. With the nine digs, Burtzel moved into second place on the program’s career dig list at 1,233 digs, surpassing Tara Houlihan’s total of 1,226.
Later in the day, the Gusties prevailed in a four-set battle over Buena Vista University 25-19, 21-25, 26-24, 25-13. In a tense third set, Gustavus won four consecutive points from blocks of Buena Vista attacks to gain momentum and take the set 26-24. Gehring recorded a match-high 13 kills followed Ainsworth with 10. Three players, Ainsworth, Burtzel, and Klein, finished the contest with 13 digs each. Gustavus outblocked Buena Vista 8.5-5.0.