St. Paul – The Gustavus volleyball team pulled out a 3-2 victory over St. Catherine University in a back-and-forth match on Wednesday night at the Butler Center. With a win in their final MIAC match of the 2013 season, the Gusties improved to 4-7 in conference play and 10-19 overall. St. Catherine finishes its conference schedule with a record of 1-10 and is now 8-20 overall.
The two squads traded sets from start to finish. Gustavus won the first set 25-22, and St. Kate’s answered with a win in the second 25-23. After the Gusties took the third 25-18, the Wildcats bounced back once again with a 25-20 win in the fourth to send the match to a decisive fifth set. The Black and Gold earned the five-set victory with a 15-10 win in the final frame, posting seven kills with just one attack error for a hitting percentage of .429 within the set.
The story of the night for Gustavus was the stellar play of setter Rachel Arnold (So., South Haven, Minn.). Arnold, who jump-started what was a struggling Gustavus offense in her first career start last Saturday against Saint Mary’s, distributed a match-high 50 assists tonight against the Wildcats. The sophomore also added 14 digs to record her second straight double-double. To go along with the 53 assist afternoon she had against Saint Mary’s, Arnold became the first Gustie setter to register 50 or more assists in back-to-back matches since 2008. Bridget Burtzel `09 was the last setter to accomplish this feat after she allocated 63 assists against Concordia in a 3-2 win on Oct. 24 and then 56 assists in a 3-2 victory in Gustavus’s next outing against Macalester.
As a team, Gustavus finished with 60 kills and an attack percentage of .168. St. Catherine had 51 kills and an attack percentage of .139.
Gustavus’s top hitter was Alyssa Taylor (Jr., Trimont, Minn.) who had her best hitting performance since a 21 kill match on Oct. 11 against UW-Stout. Taylor hit the floor with a match-high 18 kills and hit at a rate of .306. It was her 11th time hitting over the .300 mark this season.
Becca Woodstra (So., Minnetonka, Minn.) finished next in line with 13 kills and a .146 hitting percentage. Woodstra also turned in her second consecutive double-double with 13 digs to go along with her kill total.
Paige Breneman (Jr., Sherburn, Minn.) reached the 20-dig plateau for the third straight outing, finishing with a match-best 20 digs to lead Gustavus’s back row.
The Gustavus volleyball team snapped its six-match losing-skid with tonight’s win and will now look to cap the 2013 season on a high note with a pair of matches to close out the year on Saturday in St. Peter. The Gusties will host the Gustavus Triangular on Saturday, Nov. 2 and will take on Buena Vista at 10:30 a.m. and UW-Superior in the season-finale at 2:30 p.m.