The Gustavus volleyball team lost a close four set match to Carleton College in St. Peter on Wednesday night. The Gusties were led by Malea Noennig’s 43 assists and Nicki Ainsworth’s 14 kills. Jenny Ewert guided the defense with 22 digs. Kelly Lovett led Carleton with 17 kills and 14 digs. The sores for the sets were 25-22, 28-30, 22-25, and 17-25. Gustavus drops to 8-5 on the season while Carleton improves to 8-3.
In the first set, Gustavus jumped out to a 6-1 lead before Carleton went on an 8-3 run to tie the score at 9-9. From that point on, Gustavus never trailed in the set and fought off a Carleton rally to win 25-22. The second set could have gone either way as the two teams battled back and forth and tied the score 13 times. Neither team held more than a four point lead at any time, but when all was said and done, the Knights held on for the 28-30 win. Janey Helland led Gustavus with six kills in the set, and Malea Noennig assisted on 13 of the 17 kills in the set for the Gusties. The third set was just as close as the first two, and Carleton gained a 2-1 advantage in sets won on the night with its 22-25 victory. Gustavus got out in front early in the third set, and held a 10-9 advantage before Carleton charged back and tied it at 10-10. The lead changed hands a few times during the next four points, but the Knights grabbed a 13-12 edge and never relinquished it as they rode the momentum to victory. In the final set, Gustavus took the lead early, but Carleton tied the score at 8-8 and put together a 17-9 run to seal the 25-17 win.
Gustavus recorded 51 kills on the night and had three players finish with double digits in that category. Ainsworth led the team with 14, and Olivia Warren and Helland chipped in 10 apiece. Ewert contributed 22 digs, while Ainsworth was not far behind with 16. Noennig’s 43 assists in the game ties the third highest total in Gustavus history, and ties the highest total ever for a four set match.
Gustavus plays next on Friday, September 25 as the team travels to Minneapolis, Minn. to play Augsburg College at 7 p.m.