Volleyball Shuts Out Wartburg In NCAA Regional First Round

Posted on November 10th, 2016 by

Brittany Luethmers led the Gustie defense in the sweep over Wartburg.


ST. PAUL, Minn. – Having last season’s experience at the NCAA Championships provided a higher comfort level for the Gustavus volleyball team Thursday as it cruised to a three-set victory over Wartburg College in the opening round of the regional tournament. The Gusties won by scores of 25-23, 25-15, 25-16 to claim their first win at the NCAA tournament since 1986.

Shaefer Rupar had a game-high 11 kills.

Shaefer Rupar had a game-high 11 kills.

“Today was a great match for us,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “Our squad came in focused, hungry, and really disciplined on defense. Wartburg is a great team so hats off to them. Their aggressive serving and the way our team responded, especially after errors, was Gustie ball.”

Wartburg came out strong in the first set with a 7-3 lead, but the Gusties responded with an 8-3 run, taking their first lead of the game at 11-10. After the Knights regained a 12-11 lead, Gustavus continued its hot streak with a 7-2 run for an 18-14 advantage. Wartburg battled back to tie the score 23-23, but two attack errors gave the Gusties a two-point win.

Gustavus rolled its momentum into the second game with a 4-0 lead to force a Wartburg timeout. The Knights responded well out of the break with a 7-2 run to take their first lead of the set. The Black and Gold answered right back with a 7-1 run forcing a Wartburg timeout. From that point on it was all Gustavus as it claimed the second game by 10 points.

The Knights gained the momentum early in the third set with a 7-4 lead, but the Gusties were able to answer with a 7-2 run, taking a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the match. The Gusties finished off the deciding set strong with a 10-2 run.

Shaefer Rupar (Jr., Merrill, Wis.) was the go-to attacker for the Gusties, finishing with a match-high 11 kills and a .417 hitting percentage.

“This is a fun atmosphere to play in and we had a really good week of practice coming into this game,” Rupar said. “All the preparation that went into this game allowed us let loose out there.”

Nora Holtan set up 33 assists.

Nora Holtan set up 33 assists.

Lauren Hanson (So., Redwood Falls, Minn.) also registered double figure kills with 10. Nora Holtan (So., Rochester, Minn.) directed traffic on the floor with 33 assists.

“Last year all of us were new to the tournament, but this year we all came in confident in who we are,” Holtan said. “We didn’t let the atmosphere affect how we played. Today we focused on doing what we could do and control what we can control. We came in with a lot more grit and hungry to make up for how we played last year.”

As she has done all season, Brittany Luethmers (So., Prior Lake, Minn.) was a leader on the back line with 21 digs.

Gustavus improves to 24-7 and will face the winner of Concordia-Wisconsin and defending national champion Cal Lutheran at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow.

“It means a lot to be here,” Sherden said. “It’s very important that we come in one match at a time and we focus on what we are doing. I was very proud of our team in the way that they played and they came in composed. They came in with an aggressive mentality and were able to come away with a three-set win.”


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