Volleyball Wins MIAC Championship, Advances To NCAA Tourney

Posted on November 6th, 2021 by

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ST. PETER, Minn. – For the fifth time since 2015, the Gustavus volleyball team is bound for the national tournament after claiming the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Playoff Championship, defeating Bethel University in four sets with scores of 15-25, 27-25, 25-21, 25-18 advancing to NCAA Championships for the tenth time in program history. The Gusties have now won four MIAC Volleyball Playoff titles, tied with Concordia for the second-most in league history – two shy of the conference record.

“We started out a little unfocused and were just trying to do a little bit too much and playing more tense than free,” said Head Coach Rachelle Sherden. “After the first set we talked about going back to our plan and using different shots rather than just working away and mixing up our offense, and then being more aggressive on the serve than we were in the first set. Super happy for the team!”

The Gusties were going through some early-game jitters to begin the first set, trailing 15-3 before making a handful of attack errors for the Royals to take the first set 25-15.

Sherden’s squad got back on track and rallied in set two. Tied at 12-12, the Gusties rattled off three kills that proved solid until set point. Kills from Sarah Elliott (Jr., Lombard Ill.) and Marlee Turn (So., Kennedy) sealed the deal for a 27-25 set two to reset the match.

Gustavus rolled its momentum into the third with a five point lead that the Royals couldn’t respond to for a 25-18 third set while Courtney Peterson (Jr., Jamestown, N.D.) hit .750 in the process.

Bethel did not shy from a battle as they continued to go point for point against Gustavus in a gritty fourth set. At the twelfth point, a pair of Peterson kills tilted the score in the Gusties favor before taking the final 9-5 run. A 25-18 fourth set punched the Gusties ticket to the NCAA Championship.

MIAC Player of the Year Kate Holtan (Sr., Rochester) led Gustavus with a 17-kill, 10-dig double-double- her second double-double of the postseason. Elliott also accounted for 16 kills while Hailey Embacher (Sr., Mankato) posted 27 digs. Kasie Tweet (So., Adrian) registered 46 assists. 

Gustavus received the MIAC Playoff championship plaque and the conference’s automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Bethel and the rest of the MIAC will eagerly await Selection Monday to see if the league sends any additional teams to the NCAA Tournament via at-large bids. The NCAA will announce the national tournament field during its annual selection show on NCAA.com Monday, November 8 at 11:30 a.m. CT.


One Comment

  1. Franz Boelter says:

    Congratulations to Rachelle and her Gussies! Another fantastic season! Good luck in the tournament!