St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus volleyball got back on the winning track with a 3-0 win over Macalester College on Saturday afternoon on Gus Young Court. Senior Emily Phillips (Cleveland, Minn.) led the Gustavus offense in an efficient night at the net, recording 14 kills and an attack percentage of .444.
Gustavus completed the sweep with match scores of 25-23, 25-22, and 25-18. The Gusties snap a four-game slide and are now 7-8 overall and 1-2 in the MIAC. Macalester will seek its first MIAC victory next week as it drops to 6-11 overall and 0-2 in the MIAC.
“It’s a big win and a big confidence boost to get that first conference victory,” said Head Coach Rachelle Dosch. “We started a bit sluggish but as the match went on we began to do the things needed to be successful. By the third we clicked and that was good to see.”
The Scots jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the opening set. They would hold on to the lead nearly the entire set until an ace by Kelle Nett (Fy., Spring Valley, Ill.) gave Gustavus its first lead of the frame at 22-21. From that point there was no looking back. Gustavus took advantage of back-to-back Macalester service errors to win the first set 25-23.
“We did a nice job of battling through a slow start and capitalizing on their mistakes in that first set. That established a great tone for the rest of the match,” commented Dosch.
After trading points to start the second set, the Gusties used a 6-to-1 scoring run that gave them the lead at 13-9. Emily Phillips recorded three kills within the run.
Macalester battled back to go up 16-15 on a kill by Laura Avena. Gustavus responded by scoring eight of the next ten points to grab a 23-18 lead. Kills by Phillips and Emily Gilman (So., Maple Grove, Minn.), respectively, gave Gustavus a 25-22 second set win. The Gusties hit a match-high .250 and made just four errors in the second set.
The Gusties came out firing and opened up an 11-4 lead in the third and final set. The deficit proved to be too much for the Scots to bounce back from, as Gustavus’ lead lingered between five and seven points for much of the frame. After a 5-0 Macalester run that cut the lead to 22-18, Gustavus scored three-straight points to put a stop to any comeback hopes and win the set 25-18. Gustavus allowed the Scots just five kills in the third set.
Emily Phillips hit over .400 for the second time this season. Becca Woodstra (Minnetonka, Minn.) finished alongside the senior captain with a 14 kills of her own and an attack percentage of .194. Both Phillips and Woodstra have reached double-digit kills in two straight matches.
“Emily stepped up majorly tonight, just like she did on Wednesday night at St. Olaf,” said Dosch about the play of her senior hitter. “She’s starting to find her groove and is beginning to be that go-to kill when we need it.”
“Her timing and tempo is getting a lot better,” commented Dosch on the development of her sophomore setter Kendra Weege. “Earlier in the season we were having trouble connecting with our hitters and now we are starting to see everybody get on the same page. Kendra is going to be a leader in this program and I’m happy to see that relationship come together.”
The Gustavus volleyball team will be back on the court Wednesday, Sept. 26 in a match against Carleton College beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Gus Young Court.
Dosch said, “When we play our game and play with confidence, we can beat anyone. Wednesday is going to be a tough match and you can’t take anyone in this league lightly. After a couple days of practice we should be ready to go for a big match in front of hopefully another big crowd on a Wednesday night.”