The 19th-ranked Gustavus volleyball team overcame a 2-1 deficit to escape with a 3-2 (24-26, 29-27, 26-28, 25-10, 21-19) win over Macalester College in St. Paul on Wednesday night. The Gusties saved four match points in the fifth set to remain in the running for the second seed in the MIAC Post-Season Tournament. Both squads recorded 73 kills, but the difference in the match was blocking as Gustavus outblocked the Scots 14-5. The Gusties improved to 24-3 overall and 8-2 in the conference, while Macalester dropped to 4-23 overall and 0-10 in the MIAC.
Neither team led by more than two points in the first set as the squads were tied 14 times and traded leads six times. Gustavus received match point at 24-22 after a kill from Olivia Warren (Fy., Goodhue, Minn.). However, Macalester would score the next four points to steal the set 26-24.
Coach Kari Eckheart’s squad jumped out to an 11-6 lead in the second as Meghan Gehring (Jr., Eau Claire, Wis.) tallied three kills during the stretch. The Scots promptly tied the set at 11-11 with kills from Majra Mucic and Sonia Muzikarova. Points were exchanged until the Gusties went on a 5-1 run to hold a 23-19 margin, but Macalester leveled the set at 24-24. Gustavus took the set 29-27 to even the match at one set apiece after a block from Warren and Gehring and a Nicki Ainsworth (So., Eden Prairie, Minn.) service ace.
The third set proved to be even more dramatic as both teams engaged in a seesaw battle until the Gusties found themselves at set point 24-23 following a Scot serving error. Macalester fought off two more set points until Mucic and Muzikarova blocked a Gustavus attack to earn the third set 28-26.
Several scoring runs allowed the Gusties to force a deciding set after taking set four 25-10. Gustavus hit 12 kills and just one error for a .314 hitting percentage, while forcing the Scots to hit -.095. The set was punctuated by a trio of blocks from Gehring and Britta Bolm (Sr., Alexandria, Minn.) heading into the fifth set.
In the fifth set, the Gusties clawed back from an 11-7 deficit and saved four match points before a pair of Gehring kills and a Macalester hitting miscue clinched the victory for Gustavus.
The Gusties were paced offensively by Olivia Warren’s 19 kills. Nicki Ainsworth, Meghan Gehring, and Angela Ahrendt (Fy., Shoreview, Minn.) joined Warren in double-digits with 17, 16, and 13 kills, respectively. Britta Bolm tallied nine block assists, while Gehring and Ahrendt combined for three solo blocks and 10 block assists. Bridget Burtzel (Sr., Cold Spring, Minn.) compiled 56 assists and 21 digs and Emily Klein (Sr., Red Wing, Minn.) contributed a match-high 31 digs. Macalester’s Sonia Muzikarova led all hitters with 31 kills followed by 19 kills from Majra Mucic. Danielle Dweck had 63 assists for the Scots.
Gustavus wraps up the regular season on Saturday afternoon against Saint Mary’s in Winona at 3 p.m. If the Gusties defeat Saint Mary’s, they will be the #2-seed in the MIAC Tournament. Gustavus will be the #3-seed if the Gusties lose regardless of other results from around the conference.