Volleyball Opens Season With Two Sweeps

Posted on September 1st, 2017 by

PORTLAND, Ore. – The No. 24 ranked Gustavus volleyball team opened its 2017 campaign with two sweeps over Willamette University and Lewis & Clark College during day one of the Oregon Trail Classic on Friday.

The Gusties, now 2-0 overall, tallied wins in their first two season-opening matches for the first time since the 2012 season.

“It was good to finally play against outside competition and to get an idea for where we are at and to see what areas we need to continue to develop,” said Head Coach Rachelle Sherden.

Gustavus vs. Willamette: 25-13, 25-18, 25-13

In its first match of the season, the Gusties swept the Bearcats of Willamette to claim a 2017 season-opening victory. The first set went back and forth at the start as it was tied 5-5 early on prior to Gustavus taking control and eventually winning the frame 25-13. The Gusties were strong on the attack, posting 14 kills and just one error for a .565 attack percentage.

The Black and Gold carried their momentum into the second set, grabbing a 7-1 lead to start the middle frame. Willamette would twice come within three points of the Gusties, but that was as close as they would get as Gustavus maintained the lead for the entire set, winning 25-18 with another 14-kill mark.

Gustavus made quick work of the Bearcats in the final set, rolling to a 21-9 lead near the midway point as they recorded an efficient attack, hitting at a .342 rate with 18 kills and five errors.

The attack was led by the trio of Lauren Hanson (Jr., Redwood Falls, Minn.), Hanna Albers (Jr., St. Louis, Minn.), and Kate Holtan (Fy., Rochester, Minn.). Hanson tallied 11 kills compared to 10 from Albers while Holtan posted seven kills with two errors on 13 attempts for a .385 attack percentage in her first collegiate match. Brittany Luethmers (Jr., Prior Lake, Minn.) led the defense with 14 digs and Nora Holtan (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) set up the offense with 37 assists.

Gustavus vs. Lewis & Clark: 25-18, 25-13, 25-13

Not much changed during game two as the Gusties swept the Pioneers of Lewis & Clark in similar fashion. Gustavus allowed Lewis & Clark to hang around at the beginning of the first set before going on multiple three-point stretches and forcing 14 Pioneer service errors, jumping out to a 1-0 lead.

The Gustie attack stepped up in the second set, hitting at a .341 rate with 18 kills and four errors on 41 attempts. Gustavus jumped out to an 11-2 lead and didn’t look back, taking the set 25-13.

Set three was the closest of the day, the Gusties leading the Pioneers 9-8 early on. However, they would take control with six-straight points and tilted the court for another 25-13 win.

Sam Haugen (Jr., Becker, Minn.) was the sole Gustie with double-digit kills, posting 10 along with two errors on 20 attempts for a .400 attacking percentage. Luethmers tallied 16 digs while Albers and Anne Ladwig (Sr., Albert Lea, Minn.) each added 10. Nora Holtan controlled the offense with 24 assists.

“I thought our middles stood out on offense today and hit very efficiently, ” commented Sherden. “Our serving was very effective in getting our opponents out of their system. The defense was scrappy and the passing started out strong for the season.”

Tomorrow, the Oregon Trail Classic concludes in Newburg, Ore. with Gustavus taking on Whitworth University at 4:30 p.m. (ET) and George Fox University at 7 p.m. (ET).


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