After opening the 2011 season by going an impressive 3-1 at the Pike’s Peak Challenge held in Colorado Springs, Colo. last weekend, the Gustavus volleyball team to will look to ride the momentum into the 30th Annual Augsburg Invite this weekend in Minneapolis.
“We competed the best we could have in the first weekend. We did a lot of really good things and obviously we have things to work on, but, and especially in the Colorado College match, we showed that we can play with anyone,” said Head Coach Rachelle Dosch about her team’s performance in the opening weekend of the season. Coach Dosch felt that her team had a great trip both on and off the court. With a few adjustments, she feels the Gusties will be in better position to win a close match against formidable opponents the likes of Colorado College.
The Gusties defeated Howard Payne 3-1 and Westminster 3-0 on Friday before falling to #13 Colorado College 3-2 and defeating SUNY New Paltz 3-2 on Saturday.
Angela Ahrendt and Emily Phillips led the way on the attack for the Gusties in Colorado, as they both earned a place on the All-Tournament team at the conclusion of play. Ahrendt recorded 67 kills (3.94 k/s) and an attack percentage of .368, while Phillips tallied 56 kills (3.29 k/s), seven of which came in Gustavus’ fifth and final set of the tournament against SUNY New Paltz.
Malea Noennig led the way with 138 assists, as the trio of Paige Breneman (44), Erin Sherman (42), and Katie Ness (40) combined for 126 digs. Worth noting was the all-around play by Olivia Warren, who turned in 40 kills, 38 digs, and a team-high seven aces.
On how the squad made the transition from training camp to live competition, coach Dosh explained, “The coaching staff couldn’t have asked the players to perform better than they did after having just two weeks together. Everybody that stepped on the court was ready to play. Nobody played perfect and we have a lot to work on, but for the most part, everyone stepped up their game.” Something that Coach Dosch feels helped build the team’s confidence heading into this weekend.
Teams competing at the Augsburg Invite include Augsburg College, Northwestern College, College of Saint Benedict, College of St. Scholastica, University of St. Thomas, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Eau Claire. #7 St. Thomas and #25 St. Scholastica enter the weekend ranked in the top-25 according to the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll.
“I want to see them go in confident and mentally prepared to play right away,” Dosch about her team’s expectations entering the tournament. “They are going to have to be on top of their game individually and as a team. We’ll scout some of the teams, but it is going to come down to their ability to compete hard for four matches.”