Volleyball Splits Day One At Elmhurst Tournament Against Ranked Opponents

Posted on September 2nd, 2016 by

ELMHURST, Ill. – The Gustavus volleyball team kicked off its 2016 season Friday at the Elmhurst Tournament and split the first two games. The Gusties dropped a five-set heartbreaker to No. 18-ranked Elmhurst in game one, which ended 18-16 in the final set, and then bounced back with a five-set victory over No. 14 UW-Whitewater.

“Today was a good start,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “We battled and there were a lot of long rallies. We showed a lot of depth and heart losing the first in five and coming back to win the second match in five. We had overall strong defense and serving. There’s still a lot to improve on but I’m happy with day one and looking forward to day two and get better tomorrow.”

Gustavus vs. Elmhurst – 25-21, 21-25, 17-25, 25-19, 16-18

Elmhurst got off to a quick start in the first set, leading 6-2 early, but the Gusties answered with an 8-4 run to tie it 10-10. The two squads battled back and forth over the following 12 volleys, until the Gusties pushed ahead with a 7-2 run for a 23-18 advantage and then closed out the set for a four-point win.

The Black and Gold rolled their momentum into the second set, taking a 9-6 advantage. The Bluejays came back and tied the score five times and then took the lead 18-17, which they did not give up the rest of the set.

The third set was broken into two halves as Gustavus controlled the beginning, but Elmhurst finished it off. The Gusties jumped out to a commanding 14-6 lead, but the host team responded with an amazing 19-3 run to take the set 25-17.

Gustavus was able to get another lead early in the fourth set at 13-5 and this time was able to hold on, resulting in a six-point victory and forcing the fifth and deciding set.

In a back and forth battle, Elmhurst held set-point four times and the Gusties had an answer for the first three, but with the score 17-16, the Bluejays won the set and the match on a Gustie attack error.

Gustavus was limited to a .122 attack rate in their first game of the season, while Elmhurst hit at a .188 clip. Lauren Hanson (So., Redwood Falls, Minn.) and Hanna Albers (So., St. Louis, Mo.) led the Gusties with 11 kills each. Albers finished with a double-double by adding 18 digs. Nora Holtan (So., Rochester, Minn.) set up the offense with 42 assists, while Brittany Luethmers (So., Prior Lake, Minn.) dug out 20 attacks.

Gustavus vs. UW-Whitewater – 13-25, 25-16, 19-25, 25-18, 15-13

Moving right along after the five-set loss, the Gusties showed signs of a hangover to the defeat as they dropped the first set to 14th-ranked UW-Whitewater by 12 points. Gustavus then found its feet in the second set, jumping out to a 12-6 lead and never trailed during the second frame.

The third set went back and forth, leading to a 10-8 advantage for Gustavus, but the Warhawks scored seven unanswered points and held the lead the rest of the way. UW-Whitewater then led 3-2 early in the fourth set, but the Gusties rattled off seven straight points and held the advantage for a seven-point win, and to force another fifth set.

The two squads traded blows early in the frame and were tied 7-7 at the halfway point. Gustavus then went on a 6-2 run to force a Whitewater timeout. The Gusties won the ensuring point and were one away from closing out the match, but the Warhawks would not go quietly and claimed four straight points. After a timeout to slow the momentum, the Gusties were able to finish the game off with a kill from Holtan.

Albers once again posted a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs. Luethmers led the back line with 24 digs, while Holtan tallied 37 assists.

“Nora played well running the offense and attacking at the net,” Sherden said. “Brittany Luethmers’ back court defense and serving was stellar. Our offense played smart and dynamic. I was impressed with our stamina after playing two long tough matches back to back, which was about four hours straight.”

Gustavus continues play at the Elmhurst Tournament tomorrow with a 9 a.m. match against North Park, followed by a 1 p.m. tilt against Benedictine.


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