Whitewater, Wis. – The Gustavus volleyball team kicked off its 2012 season with a strong showing at the UW-Whitewater Tournament held Friday, Aug. 31 and Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Kris Russell Arena. The Gusties finished the two-day invite with a record of 3-1 after picking up wins over Wheaton College (3-2), UW-Oshkosh (3-1), and Central College (3-2). Gustauvs’ lone loss came at the hands of No. 17 UW-Whitewater by the score of 3-0.
Friday, Aug. 31
Gustavus’ season began with a five-set victory over Wheaton on Friday afternoon. The two squads went back-and-forth with Gustavus winning sets one (25-22), three (25-23), and five (15-10), and Wheaton taking sets two (25-17) and four (25-18).
First-year Becca Woodstra (Minnetonka, Minn.) and senior Emily Phillips (Cleveland, Minn.) led the Gusties on the attack with 13 kills apiece. Woodstra hit at a .170 percentage, while Phillips hit at a .143 rate.
Sophomore Kendra Weege (Watertown, Minn.) tallied 41 set assists in her first collegiate match in a Gustavus uniform. Paige Breneman (So., Sherburn, Minn.) and Erin Sherman (Sr., Golden Valley, Minn.) led the way on the defensive, registering 21 and 16 digs, respectively.
The Gusties finished off Friday evening with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over UW-Oshkosh by scores of 31-29, 16-25, 25-23, and 25-23.
Once again, it was Woodstra and Phillips leading the offense with identical kill totals. Phillips hit at a much-improved .414 attack percentage with 16 kills, while Woodstra hit .311 with 16 kills as well. Of their 74 combined attempts, the pair made just six attack errors.
Breneman was the only Gustie to finish with double-figure digs, recording a game-high 22 in the match. Weege and Taylor Meurer (So., Nicollet, Minn.) shared setting responsibilities, as Weege tallied 21 set assists and Meurer turned in 14.
“We competed hard and showed that relentless attitude that we practice with in the gym everyday,” said Head Coach Rachelle Dosch on her team’s performances on the opening day of the regular season. “We did a good job of prevailing through adversity in the Oshkosh match and that was a great way to start the tournament.”
Saturday, Sept. 1
Gustavus’ only loss was suffered on Saturday morning to host UW-Whitewater by scores of 25-14, 25-12, and 25-16. The Warhawks hit at a .391 percentage while Gustavus hit just .081 in the match.
Phillips had a team-high eight kills on 22 attempts, while Weege dished out 14 set assists and had seven digs. Breneman led the way with nine digs.
Despite the tough loss to begin the day, the Gusties bounced back with a five-set victory over Central to cap off the tournament. Gustavus took another back-and-forth match by scores of 25-17, 17-25, 25-17, 17-25, and 19-17.
Both squads registered similar attack percentages with Central at .194 and Gustavus at .158. Phillips and Woodstra finished with double-digit kills for the third time in the tournament. Phillips put down 14 kills (.267), while Woodstra notched 12 (.209) and also 17 digs.
Weege put together a complete match with 30 assists and 14 digs, and Breneman led the Gustie defense with 21 digs.
“We didn’t have Sherman at all on day two, but Paige stepped into that role. Although we didn’t play as well overall on Saturday after a tough loss to Whitewater, we came back to beat Central in a five set match when we really weren’t on top of our game in any way, shape, or form,” commented Dosch.
The Gustavus volleyball team will takes its 3-1 record into the Augsburg College Tournament taking place this weekend, Sept. 7-8 in Minneapolis. On Friday, Sept. 7, Gustavus will face Coe College at 2:00 p.m. and UW-Eau Claire at 6:00 p.m. The tournament will conclude on Saturday with the Gusties battling UW-Stevens Point at 9:00 a.m. and Northwestern at 11:00 a.m.
“Lots of things to work on in the gym this week to prepare for a tough weekend. We need to play more consistent and at a higher level to be successful,” Dosch concluded. “I’m really proud of my team and their first weekend. There is no doubt in my mind they will be ready to get after it this weekend.”