The Gustavus volleyball team dropped a heartbreaker in five sets to Saint Benedict on Saturday afternoon in St. Joseph, Minn. The two squads traded sets before the Blazers took the fifth and deciding frame 15-8. Gustavus falls to 18-9 overall and 5-4 in the MIAC with the loss, while Saint Ben’s remains in a three-way tie for first place in the conference standings with an overall record of 17-9 and a MIAC mark of 8-1 with the win.
Gustavus won the first set 26-24 and the third set 25-23. The Blazers took set two (25-15) and four (25-18) before taking the match in the fifth.
Three Gusties finished with double-digit kills on the afternoon. Olivia Warren and Emily Phillips each had 11 kills, while Angela Ahrendt provided 10. Phillips hit at a .226 attack percentage, and Warren tallied her second-straight double with 18 digs.
Saint Benedict’s Alexa Rinde was a force at the net throughout the match, hitting the floor with a game-high 20 kills and finishing with an attack percentage of .234.
The Blazers jumped on the Gusties early in the fifth and deciding set, grabbing an early 8-1 lead to start and holding on for the seven-point win.
The Gusties turned in their best blocking performance of the season with 19 total blocks in the match. Shelby Nosan and Paige Breneman joined Warren in double-figure digs with 19 and 14, respectively. Malea Noennig divvied out 40 assists, her highest total since a 43-assist night against St. Olaf on Sept. 21.
Chelsea Rachel of Saint Ben’s led all defensive specialists with a game-high 27 digs.
The Gustavus volleyball team will cap the 2011 regular season with back-to-back matches at home on Gus Young Court next week. The Gusties will take on St. Catherine at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26 and Saint Mary’s at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.