The Gustavus Adolphus volleyball team will travel to St. Joseph, Minn. to battle the College of Saint Benedict in the first round of the MIAC Playoffs on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 7:00 p.m. In what has been the turnaround story of the MIAC this season, the Gusties captured the fifth seed in the MIAC post-season tournament after going 7-4 within the league, moving up seven places after a last place league finish in 2010. At 20-9 overall, Gustavus reached the 20-win milestone for the third time in the last 15 years.
The Gusties match up with a Blazer squad that has already earned two 3-2 victories over Gustavus this season. The Blazers edged Gustavus by a set on Sept. 9 at the Augsburg Invitational and on Oct. 22 in St. Joseph. The Gusties hold the advantage in the all-time series with a mark of 27-23, while the Blazers have been victorious in the last four contests.
Gustavus seniors Olivia Warren, Angela Ahrendt, and Malea Noennig will be the ones to watch on Tuesday night. Warren recorded a double-double in kills and digs in both matches against the Blazers, averaging 12.5 kills and 17.5 digs per match in the season series. Ahrendt recorded 10 kills in the first meeting and 11 in the second for an average of 10.5 kills per match. Noennig had over 40 set assists in both bouts, dishing out 47 on Sept. 9 and 40 on Oct. 22.
The Gusties enter the MIAC Playoffs ranked fifth in the league in hitting percentage at .207 and second in opponent hitting percentage at .144. Saint Ben’s enters with an attack percentage of .208 (4th/MIAC) and an opponent hitting percentage of .186 (9th/MIAC). The Blazers are averaging nearly two more digs per set than the Gusties at 17.01-to-15.54 on the year.
The three attackers Gustavus will look to on the offensive are Angela Ahrendt, Emily Phillips, and Olivia Warren. Ahrendt recorded 363 kills for an average of 3.52 kills per set with an attack percentage of .310 (5th/MIAC) in the regular season. Phillips is averaging 2.77 kills per set and carries a hitting percentage of .252, while Warren has turned in an average of 2.30 kills per set with an attack percentage of .180.
Malea Noennig ranks sixth in the league in set assists and seventh in service aces. The senior setter averages 9.35 assists (888 total), .41 aces (39 total) and 2.23 digs (212 total) per set, and was just recently name MIAC Setter-of-the-Week.
Paige Breneman, Warren, and Shelby Nosan lead the way on defense. Breneman has made a total of 430 digs for an average of 4.48 per set (5th/MIAC). Warren nears the 300-dig mark at 295 (2.86 dps), while Nosan has made a total of 212 for an average of 2.47 per set.
The winners of Tuesday night’s match will travel to Moorhead, Minn. on Thursday, Nov. 3 to take on No. 1 seed Concordia at 7:00 p.m.