Northfield, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus volleyball team picked up its first MIAC road victory of the season with a 3-1 win over St. Olaf College on Wednesday night at the Skoglund Center. The Gusties took the opening two sets, fell in the third, and then won the fourth to take the match. Four Gustavus players finished with double-digit kills, as Becca Woodstra (So., Minnetonka, Minn.) led the way with a match-high 15 kills (.297) to go along with eight digs.
Gustavus has now won two matches in a row, improving to 8-9 overall and 3-2 in the MIAC. St. Olaf wraps up its three-match home-stand and is now 6-11 overall and 1-4 in the MIAC.
The Gusties won the opening set 25-16 before extending their lead to 2-1 with a 26-24 win in the second. St. Olaf cut the lead to 2-1 with a 25-22 win in the third, yet Gustavus put the match in the books with a 25-22 victory in the fourth.
The Gustavus offense clicked in the opening frame, hitting at a rate of .310 with just four attack errors in the set. With the score even at 12-12, Gustavus went on a 10-2 run to grab a 22-14 lead following back-to-back kills by Becca Woodstra. St. Olaf brought the score to 22-16, and the Gusties made a three point run, which was capped off by a Paige Breneman (Jr., Sherburn, Minn.) ace to take the set.
The second set was tightly-contested all the way through. Gustavus made its runs, and St. Olaf answered with runs of its own. Back-and-forth the teams went until late in the frame when Gustavus used a three-point swing to tie the match at 21-21. When it looked as if the Oles had recovered by winning three of the next four points to bring the score to set point at 24-22, Gustavus clawed its way back. A bad set by St. Olaf’s Kersten Bork, and dual block by Gustavus’s Kelle Nett (So., Spring Valley, Ill.) and Janessa Jahnke (Fy., Blue Earth, Minn.) tied the score at 24-24. With the momentum on their side, the Gusties won the next two points and capped the win with a kill by Nett.
In another back-and-forth set, the two teams once again found themselves tied late. With the score even at 22-22, it was St. Olaf making the final push to win the set and bring the match score to 2-1. Two kills by Molly Nelson and another by Sophie Schwartz gave the Oles three straight points and a 25-22 win.
In the fourth and final segment of the night, St. Olaf used a 6-1 run to grab an early 12-9 lead. Gustavus responded with a 7-0 scoring spree that tipped the frame in its favor. With an 18-13 Gustie advantage, the Oles battled back to bring the score within two points four occasions before eventually coming within a point down 23-22. Gustavus took care of business at that point, using kills by Jahnke and Woodstra to put the match in the books.
Gustavus turned 56 kills with a team hitting percentage of .196 compared to St. Olaf who tallied 42 kills with a hitting percentage of .151.
Behind Woodstra’s 15 kills were Emily Gilman (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.), Alyssa Taylor (Jr., Trimont, Minn.), and Kelle Nett who each totaled 10 kills on the night. Gilman hit at a .368 rate, Taylor hit .250, and Nett hit .182.
Paige Breneman led the back row with 21 digs, going over the 20-dig mark for the fifth time this season. Haley Zweber (Fy., Rosemount, Minn.) followed with 12 of her own, reaching double-figures for the second straight match.
Head Coach Rachelle Sherden used Kendra Weege (Jr., Watertown, Minn.) as her primary setter for the majority of the evening. She finished with a match/season-high 41 assists.
The Gustavus volleyball team will take a break from its MIAC schedule for the upcoming weekend as it travels to St. Paul on Saturday for a pair of matches held at the University of Northwestern. The Gusties will start the day with a 1:00 p.m. match against UM-Morris, then will cap the afternoon with a 3:00 p.m. match against host Northwestern.