Volleyball Hosts St. Thomas In MIAC Semifinal Match Tonight

Posted on November 3rd, 2016 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – After receiving the No. 2 seed for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Playoffs with a 9-2 record in the league, the Gustavus volleyball team is set to host No. 3 St. Thomas tonight in a semifinal match. The Gusties had a bye with the No. 2 seed, while the Tommies defeated No. 6 Concordia 3-0 Tuesday to advance to the semifinals. Tonight’s match begins at 7 p.m.

Live online coverage of tonight’s MIAC Semifinal game begins at 6:45 p.m.




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MIAC Playoff appearances: 26

NCAA Playoff appearances: 5 (1984, 85, 86, 2008, 15)

All-time record in the postseason: 89-56-6

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

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The Gustavus volleyball team earned a bounce-back victory Oct. 1 at St. Thomas, defeating the Tommies in four sets, 25-20, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, improving to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“We bounced back well and had good practice Friday,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “We came in disciplined and aggressive tonight and played solid defense and on serve receive. Nora made very smart decisions to help our attackers get good opportunities against the Tommie defense. Serving was not perfect but purposeful. Traut, Hanna, and Lauren had a solid night on offense.”

Nora Holtan (So., Rochester, Minn.) posted her third career triple-double with 48 assists, 16 digs, and 10 kills, including an efficient .381 attack percentage. Hanna Albers (So., St. Louis, Mo.) added a double-double with 19 kills and 18 digs, while Lauren Hanson (So., Redwood Falls, Minn.) and Taylor Trautman (Sr., Hutchinson, Minn.) contributed 18 and 12 kills, respectively. Brittany Luethmers (So., Prior Lake, Minn.) led the back line with 20 digs.

Gustavus played the Tommies tight in the early-going of the first set and gained a 12-9 lead after going on a 5-1 run. St. Thomas would regain the lead at 17-16, but the Gusties countered with 6-1 run and finished off the set for a 25-20 win.

Gustavus gained an 8-4 advantage to start the second set until the Tommies charged back with five straight points to force a Gustie timeout. Gustavus came out of the break and scored eight of the next 10 points to take a lead it would not relinquish.

The Tommies started quick in the third set, winning the first five volleys to force a Gustavus timeout. The Black and Gold fought back and eventually tied the score at 8-8, but couldn’t take the lead as St. Thomas went on a 12-4 run en route to a four-point victory.

Gustavus and St. Thomas traded points early in the fourth set, but a 7-1 run midway through the frame gave the Gusties a 15-9 lead and they held on for a match-clinching 25-18 victory.

“This win is helpful for our team to realize when they practice tough they play tough and can compete at a very high level,” Sherden said.

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Gustavus is led on the court by its four All-Conference members, Nora Holtan, Lauren Hanson, Brittany Luethmers, and Taylor Trautman.  Holtan has nearly 200 more assists than anyone else in the league with 1,115, averaging 9.87 per set, which is also the best in the conference. Holtan is also dangerous on the attack with a .296 hitting percentage, which is third best in the MIAC, to go along with 161 kills, 265 digs, and 26 aces. Hanson has played in 28 matches this year with 363 kills and an average of 3.33 per set, numbers that rank second and third in the league, respectively. The Redwood Valley product has the most attacks on the team at 1,091 and holds a .220 hitting percentage. She also has 76 digs and 42 total blocks. Luethmers leads the team with 546 digs, which is third most in the league, and averages 4.79 per set. The Prior Lake product owns a .952 receiving percentage with a just 19 errors on 397 total attempts. She also has 24 aces and has played in all 114 sets this season. Trautman has played in 106 sets this season with 269 kills and averages 2.54 per set. She’s also added 88 digs, 43 blocks, and 10 aces. The Hutchinson product is arguably one of the hardest hitting right sides in the league and is a true all-around player.

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St. Thomas enters tonight’s match on a six-game win streak, most recently shutting out Concordia in the MIAC quarterfinals Tuesday in St. Paul. Audrey Erickson and Brooke Reichart led the attack with 10 kills apiece. Katharine Mallak set up 30 assists, while Ellie Meyer led the back line with 17 digs. After 28 matches this season, Whitney Lloyd leads the Tommie attack with 273 kills, averaging 2.65 per set. Reichart is close behind with 246 kills with an average of 2.41 per set. Mallak is the primary setter with 668 assists (6.36 per set) and Meyer paces the defense with 528 digs (5.03 per set).


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