Minneapolis – The Gustavus Adolphus volleyball team concluded the 32nd Annual Augsburg Invitational with a win and a loss on Saturday at Si Melby Hall. The Gusties fell in a tightly-contested 3-2 match to UW-Stevens Point to open the day, then defeated UW-Eau Claire 3-1 to cap the tournament. Gustavus moves to 2-6 overall after going 2-2 this weekend in Minneapolis.
Gustavus vs. UW-Stevens Point Recap
The Gusties pushed 25th ranked UW-Stevens Point to the brink of an upset in their morning match. Using an efficient attack that hit at a .209 percentage in the first set and a .222 clip in the second, Gustavus jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with a 26-24 win in set one and a 25-23 victory in set two.
With Gustavus serving for the set up 24-23 in the opener, the Pointers were able to bring the score to even for the fifth total time in the frame at 24-24. A kill by Becca Woodstra (So., Minnetonka, Minn.) gave Gustavus another set point opportunity (25-24) and Kendra Weege (Jr., Watertown, Minn.) put the set in the books with an ace on the next serve.
The Gusties jumped out to fast start in the second set as well, leading by as many as six points up 18-12. The Pointers would not go away, however, bringing the score to within one point at 22-21. Gustavus responded to their run with two straight points (24-22) before Alyssa Taylor (Jr., Trimont, Minn.) closed the book with a kill to finish the set (25-23).
Facing a 2-0 deficit, UW-Stevens Point came alive following the break. The Pointers won the third by the score of 25-17 and the fourth by the score of 25-16. Gustavus’s opposition recorded 29 kills and an attack percentage of .269 compared to Gustavus’s 20 kills and .096 attack percentage over third and fourth sets.
Gustavus had trouble securing the upper hand in the decisive fifth set. With the score tied at 7-7, the Pointers went on a 5-1 run to go up 12-8. The Gusties battled back with four consecutive points – getting kills from three different players – to tie the set at 12-12. From that point on it was all UW-Stevens Point. Sarah Breuer recorded back-to-back kills and Emma Brunkhorst finished off the match with a kill of her own to secure the five-set victory via a 15-12 win in the fifth.
A season-high four Gustavus players finished the match with kills in double digits. Alyssa Taylor led the way with 16 kills and a .231 attack percentage. Kelle Nett (So., Spring Valley, Ill.) was next in line with 13 kills (.081), Becca Woodstra posted 12 (.294), and Janessa Jahnke (Fy., Blue Earth, Minn.) ended up with 11 (.206).
As a team, Gustavus tallied its second-best kill total of the season with 57 (.169).
Paige Breneman (Jr., Sherburn, Minn.) and Haley Zweber (Fy., Rosemount, Minn.) led the defensive effort with 21 and 18 digs, respectively, as the Gusties also turned in their best blocking performance of the year with a total of 12 in the match.
Taylor Meurer (Jr., Nicollet, Minn.) did the setting and turned in her top performance of the year, dishing out 53 assists which bested her previous season-high of 48.
Gustavus vs. UW-Eau Claire Recap
In the team’s closing match of the tournament against UW-Eau Claire, the Black and Gold jumped out to a 2-0 advantage for the third time of the weekend. The Gusties took the first set 25-16 and the second set 25-23.
It was all Gustavus in the opening frame as the Gusties hit the floor with a total of 15 kills to go along with a match-high .387 attack percentage. The Gusties would lead by as many as 10 points (14-4), holding on to the momentum on the way to a nine-point set one win.
Although the second set was a battle throughout, Gustavus took the early lead and never relinquished it. After UW-Eau Claire tied the set at 23-23 with two consecutive kills, Gustavus took a 24-23 lead on a Blugold service error before bringing the set to a close via a kill by Alyssa Taylor.
The Gusties struggled to find their offensive rhythm after the break, and UW-Eau Claire took advantage with a 25-20 win to bring the match score to 2-1.
In the fourth and final set, Gustavus once again grabbed the early lead and didn’t look back. The set would be tied on two occasions, yet the Gusties would never give up the lead. The turning point came in the middle stages of the set when a Kelle Nett kill sparked an 8-2 run that would see the Gusties on top 21-14. The Blugolds brought the score to within four (23-19), but Gustavus slammed the door on any comeback hopes with the next two points, giving Head Coach Rachelle Sherden’s squad the match after a 25-19 win in the fourth.
Alyssa Taylor proved to be a force at the net from start to finish, recording season-bests in kills with 20 and attack percentage at .444. She is the first Gustie to record 20 kills since Oct. 10 last season when Lauren Schlobohm had 20 against Hamline.
Janessa Jahnke finished with eight kills, while Emily Gilman (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.), Nett, and Becca Woodstra all had five.
Gustavus topped its season-high team attack percentage from Friday’s Northwestern match with .215 hitting performance. The Gusties ended up with 18 attack errors, their second-lowest total of the season.
Taylor Meurer shelled out over 35 assists for the fourth time this season, finishing with 37 to go along with six digs.
Paige Breneman led the team with 14 digs, and Kendra Weege finished behind her with 10.
The Gustavus Adolphus volleyball team will have a week of practice before hosting the Gustavus Invitational on Gus Young Court Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14. The Gustie Invite will feature Augsburg College, Bethany Lutheran College, Central College, UM-Morris, Simpson College, and UW-River Falls. Matches will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Friday and 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. Check the Gustavus Athletics website next week for further details.