St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus volleyball team heads back into MIAC play this weekend when it hits the road for matches against Concordia College and the College of Saint Benedict. The Gusties will kick off their busy weekend with a 7:00 p.m. match against the Cobbers on Friday, Oct. 18 in Moorhead. They will then travel east on I-94 to St. Joseph where they will square off against the Blazers at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19.
Despite dropping six of its last seven matches, Gustavus is still in the hunt for an MIAC Playoff spot with a 3-3 mark in league play. The Gusties carry an overall record of 9-15 after a 1-3 showing in their last outing at the Sandy Schumacher Memorial Tournament held last weekend in Eau Claire, Wis.
Concordia enters the weekend in first place in the conference standings with an MIAC record of 6-0 and an overall record of 15-7. Following a 3-0 win over St. Olaf at home on Wednesday night, Saint Benedict heads into Saturday’s match in fourth place in the league at 20-2 overall and 5-2 in the MIAC. The Blazers entered the week ranked No. 8 in the nation according to the most recent AVCA Top 25 poll released Oct. 15.
The Series – Friday’s match will be the 62nd meeting between Gustavus and Concordia on the volleyball court. The Gusties hold the advantage in the all-time series with a record of 37-24. Gustavus came out victorious in a five set battle in the last meeting between the two teams last season in St. Peter. After Gustavus took the opening two sets, Concordia answered with two set wins of its own to tie the match score at 2-2. Gustavus prevailed in the decisive fifth set by the score of 17-15
The Gusties and Blazers will be meeting for the 53rd time on Saturday afternoon. Despite falling 3-1 to Saint Ben’s last season in St. Peter, Gustavus still holds a slight advantage in the all-time matchup with a mark of 27-25.
Scouting Concordia – The Concordia volleyball team heads into the weekend having picked off then No. 4 St. Thomas 3-2 in its last outing on Saturday, Oct. 9 in St. Paul. Concordia sits alongside Augsburg as one of the two teams left with unblemished MIAC marks.
The Cobbers head into a two-match weekend ranked sixth in the league in kills per set (12.42) and seventh in attack percentage (.197). Against league foes, Concordia averages 12.71 kills per set (7th/MIAC) with a .216 hitting percentage (4th/MIAC).
Leading the offense with 240 kills (2.89 kps) and a .225 attack percentage is Kynndyl Ross. Kayla Hampton is next in line with 178 kills (2.17 kps) and .300 attack rate.
Concordia’s back row is led by the duo of Alyssa Schmidt and Angie Waller, as both players rank inside the top 10 in the league in total digs. Schmidt’s 327 digs (4.04 dps) rank eighth, while Waller’s 294 digs (3.59 dps) rank tenth.
Doing the majority of the setting thus far has been Mandy Mercil who has distributed a total of 557 assists (6.63 aps), ranking her eighth in the MIAC.
Within league play, the Cobbers lead the way in aces (36) and rank second in total blocks (51).
Scouting Saint Benedict – The Saint Benedict volleyball team heads into Saturday one of the hottest teams in the country. Although both their losses have come in league play to ranked teams Augsburg (3-0) and St. Thomas (3-0), the Blazers still enter the weekend on a six-match winning-streak.
Gustavus will need to find a way to slow down the top offensive team in the league in Saint Ben’s. The Blazers average a league-high 14.45 kills per set and are hitting at a league-best rate of .263.
Amongst the squad’s five players with more than 100 kills on the year, Lexi Rinde leads the pack with 236 for an average of 3.58 kills per set along with a hitting percentage of .356. Lexi Alm sits behind Rinde with 210 kills, averaging 3.18 kills per set with a .247 attack percentage.
Running the offense and distributing the ball all season has been Taya Kockelman, who ranks first in the MIAC in assists per set (12.06) and third in total assists (796).
Defensively, Chelsea Rachel and Lexi Alm pace the Blazers. Rachel leads the team with 255 digs (3.92 dps), while Alm has hit triple-figures in two categories with 223 digs (3.38 dps) to go along with his kill total.