When a then 12-year-old Angela Ahrendt watched her mom Linn, a standout Gustie volleyball and basketball player in the mid-1980’s, get inducted into the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002, was there a moment that she envisioned herself donning the three crowns and wearing black and gold? Knocking down kills on Gus Young Court? Or maybe, joining her mother in the 1000-Kill Club? If she did, the senior middle hitter’s premonitions came true because with 18 kills in a 3-2 victory over St. Olaf on Wednesday night in St. Peter, Ahrendt became the 13th player in the history of the Gustavus volleyball program to tally 1000 career kills.
“It felt really good, but I’m glad it’s done and over so I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” said an overwhelmed Angela Ahrendt after the match. “The main goal is to win and I’m really glad we were able to because it wouldn’t have meant as much if we hadn’t.”
Ahrendt sits in 13th place on the all-time kills leaderboard with 1011, sitting behind Jill Redebaugh in 12th at 1024. Her mother Linn recorded 1252 over her four-year career, which ranks fourth all-time.
“Senior year, conference opener, parents night, mom in the crowd – awesome. It was cool to see a daughter reach the same milestone as her mom,” said Head Coach Rachelle Dosch.
The Gusties came out on fire to start the match, winning the first set 25-17 and the second set 25-23 to take a 2-0 lead
After a back and forth start to the match in set one, a kill by Olivia Warren sparked a 7-2 run that put Gustavus up 20-11. Emily Phillips connected for three kills within the run, and Malea Noennig capped the set with two kills in Gustavus’ final three points. The Gusties recorded a match-high 18 kills for an attack percentage of .419 in the first set.
The second set turned out to be the closest of the match as there were five lead changes with the scored tied on nine occasions. Despite trailing 13-10 and 16-13 in the middle of the set, Gustavus was to battle back and develop a lead after going on a 7-0 run (20-17). Senior Katie Ness served six straight points inside the run. Ness registered a .944 service percentage with one ace and just one error in the match.
Three straight kills by Ariel Carlson would tie the second set at 23-23. Carlson led all attackers in the match with a game-high 19 kills (.405). A knock-down by Warren (24-23) stopped the Ole momentum and a Jessica Gill/Emily Phillips block gave the set to Gustavus 25-23.
“We were confident and everybody was ready to go,” commented Dosch on her team’s demeanor following the initial two sets. “It was sort of redemption from last week. First time at home, conference opponent, good crowd. The mood was comfortable and the air was light.”
Following the five-minute intermission between the second and third sets, St. Olaf stepped onto the court with a different demeanor. “They did a really good job changing the pace and picking up the tempo,” said Dosch. “We struggled making an adjustment to the pace in the middle of the game and that is especially hard when you have a lot of young players and you’re up 2-0.”
The Gusties dropped the third set 25-12 and the fourth set 25-18. The Oles opened the third set on a 10-3 run, holding onto a comfortable lead for the remainder of the frame. In set four, Gustavus couldn’t find a way to close the two-point gap late in the match, as St. Olaf broke away by scoring four straight points in a 7-2 run to go up 23-17. Gustavus had a .000 hitting percentage in sets three and four.
Enough was enough in the fifth and deciding set. Gustavus quickly grabbed an early 5-1 lead and didn’t look back, leading by as many as seven points (13-6) in the set. Seniors Angela Ahrendt (3), Olivia Warren (3), and Malea Noennig combined for seven of Gustavus’ nine kills in the fifth.
“That showed the kind of heart and character this team has. To lose that bad in the third and the fourth, and to come back with that kind of fire and determination in the fifth is awesome,” Dosch remarked.
The Gusties recorded 55 kills and an attack percentage of .182 in the match, while St. Olaf finished with 48 kills and a .203 attack percentage. Finishing with double-digit kills for Gustavus was Ahrendt (18), Phillips (12), and Warren (11). Noennig turned her third-highest assist total of the season with 43, while Paige Breneman notched a game-high 23 digs.
The Gustavus volleyball team, who is now 10-4 overall and 1-1 in the MIAC, will be back on the court Saturday, Sept. 24th with matches against Martin Luther at 2:00 p.m. and Northwestern at 4:00 p.m. The contests will be held at Northwester College in St. Paul.