Volleyball Comes Back to Beat Augsburg in Five Sets, Advances to MIAC Title Match

Posted on November 1st, 2018 by


SAINT PETER, Minn. – It was a defensive battle to the end with long rallies throughout, and at the end of the day the Gustavus volleyball team was able to outlast Augsburg in five sets to advance to the MIAC championship match. The No. 8 Gusties trailed 2-1 after three sets (25-19, 23-25, 20-25), but were able to win the fourth 25-20 and the fifth in convincing fashion 15-6. Gustavus advances to the MIAC playoff title match for the third time in four years and will host second seed Saint Benedict at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Serving was key for the Gusties as they tallied a season-high 18 aces, led by five each from Lauren Hanson (Sr., Redwood Falls, Minn.) and Brittany Luethmers (Sr., Prior Lake, Minn.). Four Gusties reached double figure kills with Hanson recording a team-high 16. Hanna Albers (Sr., St. Louis, Mo.) and Kaikea Welsh (Fy., Kansas City, Mo.) each had 11 kills, while Kate Holtan (So., Rocheseter, Minn.) posted 10.

Nora Holtan (Sr., Rochester, Minn.) distributed 47 assists and dug out 17 attacks. Kate Holtan led the defense with 24 digs. Luethmers was next with 21 digs. As a team, Gustavus registered 106 digs and eight blocks.

A turning point in the match was at the end of the fourth set with the score tied 20-20. The Auggies just benefitted from an attack error, but Hanson landed a kill to take a one point lead. Luethmers ensued with three consecutive aces, one that bent the top of net and sprung down for the point, and Hanson finished the set with another kill.

“We played freer in the fourth set,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “We rely so much on our pass and serve. We passed at 2.55 and served with 18 aces. The key was getting them out of system so they could not run their middle hitters.”

Late in the fifth set, Luethmers gave the Gusties a comfortable cushion with two straight aces and Nora Holtan – three-time MIAC MVP – finished off the match with consecutive kills.

Saturday’s match against Saint Ben’s will be the first meeting between the two programs in the MIAC playoff championship.

“Both teams know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Sherden said. “It will be another tough and gritty match. This should be an adrenaline-fueled match and we’re happy to be hosting it.”


One Comment

  1. Michael Albers says:

    Great match ladies, awesome job with the serving. 18 aces in one match is unbelievable!!!! Cheering you on from St Lou, Go Gusties!!!!!