Volleyball Battles for Five-Set Win Over St. Kate’s

Posted on October 2nd, 2019 by

Sarah Elliott goes for an attack against St. Kate's (photo courtesy of David Faulkner, SPX Sports)

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SAINT PETER, Minn. – In a match that featured 30 tied scores and 13 lead changes, the Gustavus volleyball team scrapped together a five-set victory over St. Catherine on Wednesday night, 22-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-27, 15-13. The Gusties improve to 9-8 overall and 2-1 in the MIAC, while the Wildcats drop to 10-8 overall and 0-3 in the league.

St. Kate’s took control early in the first set for a 5-1 lead, which increased to 10-5, forcing a Gustie timeout. After the break, Gustavus strung together an 8-2 run for a 13-12 advantage, but the Wildcats regained the lead 17-16 and never trailed the rest of the way. Conversely, the Gusties jumped out of the gates in the second set for a 7-1 lead and never trailed in a decisive 10-point victory.

The two teams traded points early in the third before a 7-1 Gustie run midway through the frame forced a Wildcat timeout with the Gusties leading 15-11. The home team kept on the gas all the way to the 24th point but St. Kate’s rattled off five consecutive points before the Gusties claimed the set.

The fourth frame was a true back-and-forth battle with 11 ties and four lead changes. After a three-point run by the Gusties tied the game 10-10, neither team was able to create more than a two-point separation until Gustavus rallied for three-straight late, taking a 23-20 advantage. The Wildcats answered back, though, and finished the set with a 5-1 run for the extra-rally win.

With both teams trading blows to start the fifth, the Gusties were able to score four straight for a 10-6 lead and never trailed the rest of the way.

“We wanted to keep tonight as simple as possible, to be gritty and play with heart,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “We responded well if St. Kate’s had a big kill or there was an error on our part. I thought we did a better job of responding to those moments tonight.”

Kate Holtan (Jr., Rochester) led the attack with 17 kills and a .268 hitting percentage. Sarah Elliott (Fy., Lombard, Ill.) was also productive with 11 kills. Mitaya Johnson (Sr., Kasson) and Kaylyn Johnston (Fy., Urbana, Ill.) shared setting duties with 26 and 20 assists, respectively. Johnston finished with a double-double, adding 14 digs. Hailey Embacher (Jr., Mankato) led the back line with 24 digs.

“Our focus is always on how we are getting better and not comparing ourselves to other teams in the conference,” Sherden said. “That’s a difficult approach because every day is different. But for the most part we are getting better every day.”

Gustavus next travels to Hamline for a 3 p.m. MIAC match Saturday.

 

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