Volleyball Hosts Saint Mary’s In MIAC Semifinals Tonight

Posted on November 5th, 2015 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – Not even a week after sweeping Saint Mary’ University in straight sets to close out the regular season, the Gustavus volleyball team once again hosts the Cardinals, this time in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Playoff Semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Gusties are the No. 1 seed in the playoffs after finishing the conference schedule 11-0, while the Cardinals are the No. 4 seed (8-3 MIAC) and are coming off a straight set victory over Concordia on Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

Live online coverage of tonight’s match begins at 7 p.m.





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MIAC Playoff appearances: 25

NCAA Playoff appearances: 4 (1984, ‘85, ‘86, 2008)

All-time record in the postseason: 87-55-6

Furthest into postseason: Final 16 (1975 AIAW National Small College Volleyball Tournament)

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The Gustavus volleyball team beat Saint Mary’s in straight sets 25-17, 25-21 and 25-23 on Oct. 31 in St. Peter to finish the regular season 25-2 overall and a perfect 11-0 in the MIAC. The decisive victory gave the Gusties their 25th straight win, an undisputed regular season conference championship and marked the first perfect conference record since the 1985 team went 11-0 in the league.

“We came out disciplined and aggressive on both offense and defense,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “Our serves were on point and we got them out of system, which helped us because they are a really strong offensive team. Besides the third set when we were down for a while, I thought the momentum for the most part was on our side. Again, that was our aggressive mentality and discipline on defense.”

Gustavus posted a .286 attack percentage – highlighted by a .471 mark in the second set – compared to a .124 rate from the Cardinals. Each team had five service aces.

The offense was evenly distributed among the Gusties with Lauren Hanson (Fy., Redwood Falls, Minn.)leading the way with nine kills. Taylor Trautman (Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.)Alyssa Taylor (Sr., Trimont, Minn.)and Becca Woodstra (Sr., Minnetonka, Minn.) tallied eight kills apiece. Nora Holtan (Fy., Rochester, Minn.)distributed 31 assists. And Brittany Luethmers (Fy., Prior Lake, Minn.) was the leading defender with 16 digs.

Gustavus trailed only once in the first set at 4-5, but then went on a 15-5 run and cruised to an eight-point victory. The Black and Gold then rolled its momentum into the second with an early 7-3 advantage. Saint Mary’s would crawl back into the game and eventually take the lead at 15-14, but the Gusties went on a 6-2 run to force a SMU timeout. After the break, the Cardinals would get within one point at 22-21, but consecutive kills from Holtan and Trautman followed by a SMU attack error gave the Gusties a 2-0 lead in the match.

Saint Mary’s made strong case to send the match into a fourth set by taking a 14-9 lead midway through the third, forcing a Gustavus timeout. The Cardinals continued to put the pressure on with three of the next five points, forcing Sherden to take her second timeout. The Gusties responded well after the break and scored the next four points to come within two at 17-15, but the Cardinals then went on a 5-2 run to take a five-point advantage. The Gusties buckled down and rattled off five straight points to tie the game at 22-22 and then finished it off with a pair of kills from Holtan and an SMU attack error.

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Tonight’s match marks the 58th meeting between Gustavus and Saint Mary’s in volleyball. Gustavus leads the all-time series 36-21. The last meeting was on Oct. 31 this year as the Gusties won in straight sets. The last postseason meeting between the Gusties and Cardinals was Nov. 6, 2008 as the two squads met in St. Peter in the MIAC Semifinals. Gustavus, ranked No. 18 in the nation at the time, won in straight sets 27-25, 25-16, 25-17. That match was the last time Gustavus hosted a postseason game.


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