Volleyball Wins MIAC Playoff Title in Five Set Thriller

Posted on November 3rd, 2018 by

The Gusties celebrate a point late in the fifth set. (photo by Matt Berkner, Gustavus Sports Information)


SAINT PETER, Minn. – The 2018 MIAC volleyball playoff championship could not have been scripted any better. Top-seed Gustavus claimed the first two sets, while second-seed Saint Benedict answered with wins in the third and fourth, setting up a thrilling fifth. Tied 13-13, senior Hanna Albers (St. Louis, Mo.) took over with a kill followed by a match-clinching ace to secure Gustavus its third MIAC playoff title in the past four years.

Gustavus, winner of its past 19 matches, earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, which begin next Friday. The bracket will be released Monday morning.

“Again, tonight was such a defensive battle,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “I thought our digging was trying to match their blocking and it was just a point-for-point battle.”

Kate Holtan (So., Rochester, Minn.) had an exceptional night both on the attack and on the back line with 22 kills and a career-high 33 digs. Brittany Luethmers (Sr., Prior Lake, Minn.) tallied 25 digs, while the team posted a season-high 121 digs – the most since 2008 (134). Luethmers also had 10 assists for her third career double-double. Nora Holtan (Sr., Rochester, Minn.) racked up 53 assists and dug out 22 attacks.

After a slow start in the first set, the Gusties erased a 20-15 deficit with 11 straight points on the serve of Lauren Hanson (Sr., Redwood Falls, Minn.), resulting in a 25-21 win. Gustavus then took the first two points in the second set and never trailed in a 25-19 win.

Saint Ben’s battled back in the third, halting a four-point Gustie comeback late in the set to secure a 26-24 victory. The fourth frame featured 12 ties and eight lead changes in a tooth-and-nail fight to the finish where the Bennies took four of the last six points to force the fifth set.

Just as they did in the fifth set of the semifinals, the Gusties scored early and often in the fifth tonight to jump out to a 5-2 lead. The Bennies battled back all the way to tie it three times, but the last two points went to the home team to secure the match.



  1. gretchen Koehler says:

    so awesome both Augsburg and Bens matches go Gusties

  2. Michael says:

    That was a nail biter from start to finish. Ladies you know how to keep us parents on edge. Awesome job Hanna to finish it. Good luck next weekend. Go Gusties!!!!