Volleyball Advances To Region Championship, Defeats Wartburg In Four Sets Posted on November 10th, 2017 by


ST. PAUL, Minn. – For the first time in the 49-year history of Gustavus volleyball, the Gusties have advanced to a NCAA region championship match – also distinguished as the “Sweet 16” – after defeating Wartburg College in four sets Friday evening at the Ericksen Center on the campus of the University of Northwestern-St. Paul.

Gustavus advanced to the region title match with set scores of 25-21, 12-25, 25-16, and 25-15. Wartburg jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the first set, but the Gusties responded with a 9-3 run to force a Knights timeout. Wartburg was able to tie the score three times, but the Gusties ended the opening frame on a 4-1 run for the victory.

Wartburg quickly leveled the playing field in the second set with an early 7-2 advantage, followed by eight-straight points for the convincing 13-point decision to tie the match at one game apiece.

The Knights rolled their momentum into the third set with a 5-1 lead early on to force a Gustie timeout. The Black and Gold responded well after the break, going on a 13-4 spree and never looked back. Wartburg made a comeback bid midway through the set, but a one-on-one battle in the middle of the court between Wartburg’s All-Region middle blocker Aryn Jones and Gustavus’s All-Region setter Nora Holtan (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) was won by Holtan with a momentum-changing solo block. The Gusties ensued with a 9-4 run to close out the set and take a 2-1 lead.

Wartburg took a 6-4 lead to start the fourth set, but that would be its last lead of the game as the Gusties went on a 9-3 run and maintained the advantage the rest of the way.

Hanna Albers (Jr., St. Louis, Mo.) led the offensive attack with 20 kills and .395 hitting percentage. Albers was a defensive presence as well with 18 digs for a double-double. Kate Holtan (Fy., Rochester, Minn.) was close behind with 17 kills and a .267 attack rate. Nora Holtan directed traffic all game with 51 assists. She also added eight digs, three kills, and two aces. On the back line, Brittany Luethmers (Jr., Prior Lake, Minn.) dug out 33 attacks. As a team, the Gusties hit at a .263 rate and limited the Knights to a .185 percentage.

Gustavus (25-6) now takes on host and No. 1 seed Northwestern-St. Paul (34-6) for the region title at 7 p.m. Saturday with a trip to the “Elite 8” on the line. The winner advances to the national quarterfinals, which takes place next Thursday in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Gusties and Eagles faced each other on Sept. 23 in St. Peter with the Eagles winning in five sets.

The furthest Gustavus has advanced in the NCAA tournament was in 1984 when it received a first round bye into the round of 16, defeating St. Catherine in five sets before losing to eventual champion UC-San Diego in the “Elite 8.”


One Comment

  1. Michael Albers says:

    Go Gusties!!! We will be watching Saturday night and sending our support.
    Bring it on home ladies!