Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus volleyball suffered a 3-0 loss to Northwestern in its last non-conference test of the season on Tuesday night at Gus Young Court. Despite fighting to the end of every set, Northwestern was able to finish strong three straight times (25-20, 25-22, 25-23) to hand the Gusties a loss on what was Dig Pink night in Lund Center. Gustavus falls to 8-16 overall with the loss, while Northwestern improves to 18-8 with the win.
“Closing sets has been an issue of ours the entire year – tonight was no different,” said Head Coach Rachelle Dosch. “We didn’t play bad and we didn’t play great. Overall, the energy and our mentality wasn’t where we needed it to be tonight.”
“When Northwestern is on, they are on. We did a good job sticking with our system and I thought we served very aggressively tonight. They were a lot more disciplined than earlier in the season, and that’s what we struggled with at times,” she continued.
After going back-and-forth through the opening 14 points of the opening set, Northwestern scored three straight points to grab a 10-7 lead. After Gustavus battled back to tie the score at 15-15 following an Erin Sherman (Sr., Golden Valley, Minn.) ace, the Eagles used a 4-0 run to go up 19-15. Once Northwestern took a 20-17 lead, the Gusties responded with three straight points to knot the score at 20-20. From that point, it was all Northwestern, as the Eagles scored five straight to take the opening set 25-20. Hitter Kendra Korporal recorded three of the last four kills, as Gustavus was outhit .282-to-.053 in the frame.
Gustavus improved its offense in the second set, outhitting the Eagles .393-to-.323 and recording a team-best 16 kills. Despite Gustavus’ improvement, Northwestern made just two errors in the set and were able to pull out a 25-22 win to grab a 2-0 lead in the match. Northwestern got off to a fast start once again, leading 11-6 after a kill by Courtney Jonas. Kendra Weege (So., Watertown, Minn.) notched an ace to tie the score at 13-13, and after going back-and-forth, Northwestern used a three point swing to go up 18-15. Once again, Gustavus would not go quietly, battling back to tie the set at 20-20. With the score tied at 21-21, the Eagles scored four of the last five points using three kills and an ace.
The third set of the match turned out to be a battle to the bitter end as well. Although the Gusties trailed 6-3 early, they were able to claw back and take their first lead of the set at 9-8. The two squads swapped points through the middle of the frame, as the largest lead held by either team was two points. After Northwestern took a 22-20 lead after a Korporal kill, the Gusties responded with two straight points to tie it at 22-22. After kills by Tija Rudzitis and Potratz, respectively, Gustavus’ Lauren Schlobohm (Fy., Faribault, Minn.) brought the match to within one point at 24-23. Eagle Cari Miller put the set and match in the books with a kill on the ensuing point, allowing Northwestern the 3-0 sweep.
For the second straight match, Lauren Schlobohm led the Gustavus offense. She posted 11 kills while hitting an efficient .304. Fellow rookie Becca Woodstra (Minnetonka, Minn.) recorded her second consecutive double-double with 10 kills and a team-high 10 digs.
Dosch stated, “It gives me a lot of confidence that some our younger players are coming on strong at the end of the season. Often times we have just one senior on the court, so its great to see that confidence build as our freshmen and sophomores gain more experience.”
Meurer and Kendra Weege shared setting duties throughout the night, as Meurer dished out 18 assists and Weege contributed 17.
Northwestern hit .269 as a team and made just 13 attack errors. Gustavus hit .161 and made 20 attack errors. The Eagle offensive was led by Kendra Korporal who finished with a match-high 14 kills (.297).
The Gustavus volleyball team will continue its current three-match home-stand Friday, Oct. 19 against Concordia at 7:00 p.m. on Gus Young Court.
“The focus over the last four matches is more about playing with pride and not being worried about what our record is or where we are in the standings. These next four matches will say a lot about this team’s character,” concluded Dosch.