Northfield, Minn. – The Gustavus volleyball team suffered a nail-biting 3-2 loss to St. Olaf on Wednesday night in the Skoglund Center. In their second conference match of the season, the Gusties were edged in the decisive fifth set by the score of 15-13. Gustavus drops to 6-8 overall and 2-2 in the MIAC, while St. Olaf improves to 5-9 overall and 2-0 in the MIAC.
After jumping out to a 13-8 lead on a kill by Killy Heissel in the opening set, St. Olaf never looked back, staying in control of the set until a 25-22 win.
It was Gustavus jumping out to an early lead in the second set, going up 7-3 on a kill by Emily Gilman (So., Maple Grove, Minn.). After St. Olaf brought the score to within one point at 9-8, Gustavus used a 4-1 run to go up 13-9. With a 13-10 lead, the Gusties used another 4-1 stretch to go up 17-11 following an Emily Phillips (Sr., Cleveland, Minn.) kill. The Oles would not go down quietly, cutting the lead to one point at 20-19 after Kirstee Rotty served five straight points. With the set tied 21-21, a kill by Lauren Schlobohm (Fy., Faribault, Minn.) sparked a three point run and a 25-22 set two victory for the Gusties.
St. Olaf turned the tables in the third set, going up 7-3 early and leading by as many as nine points at 19-10 after a 7-0 run on the serve of Kersten Bork. Gustavus could not close the gap and the Oles went up 2-1 in the match with a set three win by the score of 25-19.
Facing elimination down 14-10 in the fourth set, Gustavus used a 6-1 swing to go up 16-15. With the fourth set knotted at 17-17, the Gusties took control, outscoring the Oles 8-3 down the stretch to win the set 25-20. Becca Woodstra (Fy., Minnetonka, Minn.) led the offensive with four kills within Gustavus’ strong finish.
In the fifth and final set, the lead changed a total of six times before St. Olaf took the final frame by a 15-13 margin. With Gustavus leading 13-12, kills by Kelly Heissel and Melissa Burch set up the victory for the Oles.
Three Gusties finished with double-figure kills including Phillips, Woodstra, and Kelle Nett (Fy., Spring Valley, Ill.). Phillips led the way with a match-high 19 kills and an attack percentage of .220. Woodstra tallied 15 kills (.208), and Nett recorded 10 (.026).
The Oles used a balanced offensive that featured five players finishing with over 10 kills each. Heissel led with 13, Katie Wolfram and Maggy Prunty each had 12, Ari Carlson had 11, and Burch finished with 10.
Distributing the ball on offense for the Gusties was Kendra Weege (So., Watertown, Minn.), who had a career night with a double-double that featured a match-high 55 assists and 11 digs. The last Gustavus player to have 50 or more assists in a match was Malea Noennig in 2011 against SUNY-New Palz.
Lisa Beacher (Sr., Roseville, Minn.) was at the front of the Gustie defense with a career-high 19 digs. Erin Sherman (Sr., Golden Valley, Minn.) fell in behind her fellow captain with 16 digs, while Shelby Nosan (So., Baudette, Minn.) had 15.
The Gustavus volleyball team will be back on the court Saturday, Sept. 22nd when it hosts Macalester College at 3:00 p.m. on Gus Young Court.