St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus volleyball team will conclude its 2013 MIAC schedule with a 7:00 p.m. match against St. Catherine University on Wednesday night in St. Paul. The Gusties comes into the contest in ninth place in the MIAC standings at 9-19 overall and 3-7 in the MIAC. St. Catherine enters in a three-way tie for tenth at 8-19 overall and 1-9 in the MIAC.
The Series – Wednesday evening’s contest will be the 64th meeting between Gustavus and St. Catherine in volleyball. The Gusties hold the advantage in the all-time series with a record of 37-24-2. Gustavus has won the past two meeting with the Wildcats, which included a 3-0 victory last season in St. Peter. St. Kate’s last regular season victory in the series came by way of a 3-0 win in St. Paul in 2010.
Last Time Out – In their last time on the court on Saturday Oct. 26., the Gusties suffered a 3-1 loss to Saint Mary’s at home on Gus Young Court. Despite an much improved offensive showing and an increased energy level, Gustavus could find a way to overcome the Cardinals late in the third or fourth frames. Saint Mary’s took the set via set scores of 25-22, 15-25, 25-23, and 25-21.
Head Coach Rachelle Sherden kick-started her offense by calling on sophomore Rachel Arnold (South Haven, Minn.) to handle the setting responsibilities against the Cardinals. The result was a much more consistent and potent attack than displayed in the matches leading up. After posting a season-low team attack percentage of .058 in the Oct. 23 3-0 home loss to Bethel, the Gusties posted a .214 hitting percentage against Saint Mary’s.
Arnold distributed a total of 53 assists, which matched Gustavus’s season-best for any setter this year.
Three Gusties ended up with double-digit kills, asBecca Woodstra (So., Minnetonka, Minn.) led the way with 16 kills and a .195 attack percentage. Kelle Nett (So., Spring Valley, Ill.) had 15 kills and a .371 attack rate, and Alyssa Taylor (Jr., Trimont, Minn.) recorded 14 kills and a .235 hitting percentage.
Paige Breneman (Jr., Sherburn, Minn.) led a defensive effort that saw four players finish with double-figure digs. Breneman tallied her second-best dig total of the season with 29, Arnold recorded 11, and Haley Zweber (Fy., Rosemount, Minn.) and Woodstra both added 10.
Scouting The Wildcats – Much like Gustavus, the second half of the season and October have not been kind to St. Kate’s. The Wildcats have dropped their last four MIAC contests and have won just one set within that time. They are most recently coming off a 3-1 loss to Hamline on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Although they’ve been slowed down as of late, junior Jana Christensen and first-year Abigail Palmer have been St. Kate’s top two hitters this season. Christensen has 185 kills (1.97 kps) and is hitting at a rate of .160, while Palmer has 171 kills (1.84) and holds a .109 attack percentage.
Junior Karsee Knutson has settled into a role as the team’s primary setter over the course of the year. She has tallied 534 assists for an average of 6.07 assists per set.
First-year Shanee Herd stands out in the back row and leads the Wildcats in digs with 402 for an average of 4.52 digs per set. Fellow rookie Shelby Rachel sits next in line with 319 digs (3.36 dps).
Within conference play, St. Catherine averages 9.91 kills per set (12th/MIAC) and is hitting at a 10.7-percent clip (11th/MIAC).