Volleyball Erases Two-Set Deficit, Beats Saint Ben’s 3-2

Posted on October 24th, 2015 by

Becca Woodstra goes up for a kill in the win at Saint Ben's. (photo courtesy of Saint Ben's sports information)


Update: After Saturday’s results, Gustavus has clinched at least a share of the MIAC regular season championship. One more win or a loss by Saint Mary’s would clinch an outright championship. This is Gustavus’ first conference title since 1986 and fifth overall (1982, ’84, ’85, ’86 and 2015).

ST. JOSEPH, Minn. – Facing a 0-2 deficit after two sets, the Gustavus volleyball team battled all the way back for an improbable five-set victory over the College of Saint Benedict on Saturday. With the win, the Gusties extend their record win streak to 23 and improve to 23-2 overall and 9-0 in the MIAC. Gustavus dropped the first two sets 23-25 and 21-25 before winning the next three 25-21, 25-22 and 15-12.

Taylor Trautman (Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.) led the Gustie attack with 16 kills. Trautman added 18 digs for a double-double. Lauren Hanson (Fy., Redwood Falls, Minn.) and Alyssa Taylor (Sr., Trimont, Minn.) also posted double figure kills with 13 and 11, respectively. Nora Holtan (Fy., Rochester, Minn.) handled the setting with 41 assists and added 13 digs for a double-double. On the back line, Brittany Luethmers (Fy., Prior Lake, Minn.) led the defense with 30 digs.

“Our team looked a little tired and our ball control was off and we made a lot of hitting errors in the first two sets,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “After set two we talked to the players about trusting our training and playing our game and we made a few adjustments in our game plan. It came down to them getting gritty and staying in the moment, which was hard because the fans were awesome and the gym was pulsating with excitement. It was loud in there! We turned up our serving and defense and then got smarter and more aggressive on offense in set three and four. Set five we made three errors to start and then got back to tie and it was point for point until the end. Our team pulled together and showed composure and resilience against Saint Ben’s. This weekend was important because we are learning how to step up through adversity against challenging opponents, which will definitely continue next week against Hamline and St. Mary’s.”

Saint Ben’s played with the lead for the majority of the first set until Gustavus took a 13-12 lead midway through the set. The Blazers then went on a 5-2 run to take a 17-15 lead and never gave it up the rest of the way. The Gusties got within one point at 23-24, but the Blazers took the set with a kill for the 25th point.

The Gusties started off hot in the second frame with an early 7-2 lead, but the Blazers fought back with a 12-6 run to take a 14-13 lead.  The Gusties regained the lead at 19-18 to force a Saint Ben’s timeout and the Blazers responded well with the following four points for a 22-19 advantage to force a Gustavus timeout. The Blazers then took three of the next five points to take a 2-0 match lead.

Facing the probability of losing their first match since Sept. 4, the Gusties jumped out to an 11-6 lead to start the third set. CSB fought back and eventually took a 17-15 lead to force a Gustavus timeout. After the break the Gusties responded with four straight points to regain a 19-17 lead en route to a four-point victory.

Gustavus set the tone early in the fourth set with an 11-4 lead. Saint Ben’s would climb back to tie the game twice at 19-19 and 21-21, but the Gusties claimed four of the final five points to force a deciding fifth set.

The final set was a classic back and forth battle with each team trading decisive side outs, going dig-set-kill off the serve on the majority of the volleys. The Blazers held a 12-11 lead late in the set until a kill by Taylor tied the game and a ball handling error by Saint Ben’s gave the Gusties a 13-12 lead, which they never game up. Holtan then recorded a quick kill for the 14th point and an attack error by the Blazers proved to be the deciding point as the Gusties completed the three-set comeback.

“I’m proud of my team and I know they will continue to work hard in the gym next week in the last week of regular season,” Sherden said. “We are still focusing on getting ‘better than yesterday.'”

Gustavus returns to MIAC play at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 as it hosts Hamline.


One Comment

  1. Kyhl Thomson says:

    Wow!!! Way to go Gusties…. Now that is what I call being on a roll. Keep getting better everyday. Looking forward to entire school year of fantastic Golden Gustie Athletics.