Volleyball to Host Saint Benedict Thursday in MIAC Semifinal

Posted on November 2nd, 2022 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. — The Gustavus volleyball team is set to host Saint Benedict at 7 p.m. Thursday for a MIAC semifinal playoff matchup at Gus Young Court. As the league’s No. 1 seed, the Gusties earned a first round bye while the fifth-ranked Bennies captured a 3-1 upset over No. 4 Bethel Tuesday night.

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GUSTIES IN THE MIAC PLAYOFFS

The MIAC Volleyball Playoffs began in 2000, and since then Gustavus has made 12 appearances with a record of 10-8, including championships in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2021. This year’s playoff appearance is the seventh consecutive for Gustavus after finishing as the MIAC Champions last season, defeating Bethel by a score of 3-1. With the victory, the Gusties earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to eventual champion UW-Eau Claire in the regional semifinal.

THE SERIES

Thursday night’s match will mark the 65th meeting between Gustavus and Saint Benedict on the court, and the fifth playoff meeting between the two teams, with the Bennies holding the winning playoff record, 3-1. The last time the Gusties and Bennies met in the playoffs was 2018, as the two teams played a five-set thriller that eventually ended in favor of the Gusties, who claimed the 2018 MIAC Championship over Saint Benedict.

Earlier this season, the Gusties swept Saint Benedict, 3-0, with set scores of 26-16, 25-13, and 25-22, sealing their regular season championship, No. 1 playoff seed, and home court playoff advantage. Sarah Elliott (Sr., Lombard, Ill.) led the offense for the Gusties against Saint Benedict, posting 14 kills and a .364 hitting percentage. Marlee Turn (Jr., Kennedy) wasn’t far behind, adding 13 kills of her own, hitting .400, posting 11 digs for her team-leading 15th double-double of the year, and tallying two service aces behind the line for the Gusties. Kasie Tweet (Jr., Adrian) added 34 of the team’s 44 assists and a team-high 15 digs for her 13th double-double on the year.

The Gusties will enter the match on a 13-game winning streak, having won all of their conference competitions, and three non-conference matches against Bethany Lutheran, University of Dubuque, and Cornell College since Sept. 27. Seven of those 13 victories have been 3-0 sweeps, including the match against Saint Benedict on Oct. 22.

SCOUTING THE GUSTIES

Gustavus captured its eighth MIAC regular season championship with a perfect 11-0 league record this season, their fifth undefeated MIAC season in program history. The No. 14 Gusties currently have an overall record of 23-4, a 7-4 record against regionally ranked opponents, and a 2-3 record against nationally ranked opponents. Through 27 matches, the Gusties boast league-leading statistics in hitting percentage (.242) and kills per set (13.42). Marlee Turn stands as the offensive leader for the Gusties, with 331 kills on the season and 3.85 kills per set, the most by any player in the conference. Junior Kasie Tweet currently sits third in the conference for assists with 879, while Maren Sundberg (Fy., Eagan) made a splash in her freshman season, posting 497 digs so far and 5.40 per set, good for second in the conference.

SCOUTING THE BENNIES

Saint Benedict entered MIAC post-season play as the No. 5 seed, having carried a record of 14-11 overall and 6-5 in the conference. The Bennies led the conference in assists (1155) and digs (1859) through the regular season and trailed the league-leading Gusties in kills per set at 13.33. In their loss to the Gusties on Oct. 22, the Bennie offense was led by Gabby Heying and Emma Guest, who posted eight and seven kills each in the match. Guest added a team-high 10 kills, while Audrey Spolidoro chipped in 22 assists. In their quarterfinal match against Bethel on Tuesday night, Heying and Guest led the Bennies once again, posting 14 and 12 kills, respectively, while Grace Holm chipped in 12 of her own toward the Bennie victory. Spolidoro posted 45 assists, while Mackenzie McDonald held up the defense for the Bennies with 21 digs. Guest and Heying lead the Bennies in kills, having posted 342 and 309 on the season, good for fourth and sixth in the conference. Spolidoro’s 991 assists are first in the conference, while Mackenzie McDonald leads the team in digs with 459.

 

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