Volleyball Beats No. 24-Ranked Augsburg 3-1

Posted on September 30th, 2015 by

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ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus volleyball team made a statement Wednesday night, defeating No. 24-ranked Augsburg 3-1 to improve to 13-2 overall and 4-0 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Gusties won by set scores of 25-21, 25-15, 18-25 and 25-22. The win also marks the Gusties’ 13th consecutive victory, which is tied for the third longest streak in program history.

“This helps our players’ confidence that they can compete with a ranked team in the nation,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “I just told them that tomorrow we are going to get in the gym and get better because it is still the first half of the season and I think this is the tough point of the season. We can’t be complacent. We need to focus on the little things and that’s what is going to carry us through and that’s the focus for us. We need to continue to do the fundamentals to carry us through to the end.”

The Gustie offense evenly distributed the attack with three players recording double-digit kills. Becca Woodstra (Sr., Minnetonka, Minn.) led the way with 12 kills on 33 attempts and six errors for a .182 attack percentage. Alyssa Taylor (Sr., Trimont, Minn.) was next with 11 kills and a .308 attack rate, while Lauren Hanson (Fy., Redwood Falls, Minn.) chipped in 10 kills and a .233 attack rate.

The defense also shared the wealth with three Gusties in double figures for digs. Libero Brittany Luethmers (Fy., Prior Lake, Minn.) paced the back line with a match-high 27 digs. Nora Holtan (Fy., Rochester, Minn.) added 20 digs, while Abby Leitch (So., Mankato, Minn.) posted 13. Holtan handled the setting responsibilities with 35 assists for a double-double.

Gustavus fans and the team celebrate the final point to claim the victory over the Auggies. (photo by AJ Dahm)

Gustavus fans and the team celebrate the final point to claim the victory over the Auggies. (photo by AJ Dahm)

Augsburg started the first set with all the momentum, jumping out to a 9-4 lead to force a Gustavus timeout. The Auggies continued to add to their lead and led by as much as six points at 15-9, but that’s the point when the game turned in favor of the Gusties. The Black and Gold got within one point at 17-18 and Augsburg called a timeout. The Auggies took the next two points, but the Gusties finished out the set on a 7-1 run to win 25-21.

Gustavus continued its momentum into the second set by capturing the first seven points and never looked back. Augsburg came within four points at 13-9 and 14-10, but that would be the closest it got as the Gusties claimed the decisive 10-point victory.

The Auggies scored the first point in the third set and never relinquished the lead. Augsburg’s largest lead of the set was 18-8, but after that point the Gusties put together a 9-3 run to come within four points. The comeback failed, though, as Augsburg took four of the final five points for a 25-18 win.

The Auggies started strong in the fourth set and led 6-4. The Gusties then rattled off five consecutive points to take a 9-6 lead and forced an Augsburg timeout. Augsburg came out of the break and went on a 10-5 run to take a 16-14 advantage. Gustavus then took a timeout, which proved to be helpful as the Gusties claimed seven of the next 11 points for a 21-20 lead. The Auggies fought back with the following two points to regain the lead, but the Black and Gold finished it off with the final four points to take the set and the match.

“That’s the toughest serving team that we’ve faced,” Sherden said. “We were out of system more than usual, especially in our serve receive, but then we came back at them and were really aggressive with our serves as well. That got them out of system where they couldn’t set their middle or their big right side. A lot of times it comes down to the serve and pass, and that was the case tonight.”

Gustavus continues MIAC play at 3 p.m., Oct. 3 as it hosts the University of St. Thomas. The 1975 Gustavus team will be honored before the game as it celebrates its 40th anniversary reunion. The 1975 “Gustie Bees” went 21-7 overall and were the first Gustavus women’s team to compete in a national tournament.

 

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