Coming off a tough 3-1 loss to nonconference opponent UW-Stout on Oct. 4, Gustavus Volleyball had only winning on their minds heading into their Oct. 7 match with MIAC rival Carleton College, and win the Gusties did.
“Our offense was more evenly distributed tonight, which makes it a lot harder on their defense. We picked up a lot of fun, long rallies to gain some momentum.” — Coach Sherden
A consistent attack was the winning recipe as the Gusties shutout the Knights in 3 sets. Sophomores Lauren Hanson and Hanna Albers led the offense with 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Albers also tallied 19 digs to earn her ninth double-double of the season. Nora Holtan was not to be outdone by her fellow sophomores, had 37 assists and 10 digs to net a double-double of her own, making five on the season. Sophomore Brittany Luethmers anchored the back line with 21 digs.
“Our serving was really effective in getting them out of system and it made it a struggle for them to run their offense,” Head Coach Rachelle Sherden said. “Our blocking also picked up. Even though we weren’t getting kill blocks, we were slowing down some of their big attackers. Our offense was more evenly distributed tonight, which makes it a lot harder on their defense. We picked up a lot of fun, long rallies to gain some momentum.”
Despite the shutout, the games were tough tests for the Gusties. In the first set Carleton battled early, but let up late for a 25-18 Gustavus win.
The second set was a hard battle through and through, with each team trading runs. A 7-2 run by the Gusties set up a 16-13 lead, but Carleton was fierce, and trailed only 23-24 when Junior Carly Thompson got a hard-hitting set-sealing kill.
The Knights desperately clawed and scratched to lead the Gusties 11-7 after an 8-2 run to force a Gustie timeout. Gustavus responded with a 7-2 run to lead 14-13, but Carleton regained the advantage and the Gusties couldn’t seem to get it back. But a tie at 22 gave the Gusties all the footing they needed as they dropped a point, then scored 3 straight to win 25-23 and take the match.
“We gelled really well tonight,” Sherden said. “When Carleton went on a few runs we were able to answer back with a run of our own. We were able to get the sideout pretty quick for the most part.”
Gustavus’ next test came against Macalaster on Oct. 12. The Gusties lost the first set, but fought back with three straight sets to win over their conference foe 3-1.
Gustavus led 7-3 in the first set, but a 12-5 Macalaster run gave the Scots the lead at 15-13. The Gusties scored three straight to take a 16-15 lead, but the Scots powered ahead to a 25-23 opening set win after quelling a late rally.
The second match was all Black and Gold, as the Gusties pulled away in a 10 point victory.
“Macalester played really scrappy and smart on offense.There were a lot of long rallies. Our team battled and Traut and Hanna were very aggressive and smart.” — Coach Sherden
In the third set both teams traded punches until the Gusties went on a 4 point run to take the lead at 14-8. The Gusties kept Macalaster at arm’s length the rest of the set, winning 25-19.
Seven ties and two lead changes kicked off the fourth set, as the Gusties crawled to a 14-13 lead. The Gusties held the lead until a late rally saw five straight points for the Scots. Three more ties and one lead change brought the game to 24-24, but Albers sealed the game with two straight kills to bring the Gusties to 15-4 overall and 6-1 in the MIAC.
Holtan and Luethmers both sw career highs in the victory, with Holtan putting up 60 assists, and Luethmers working for 37 digs. Albers lead the Gusties in kills with 18, Hanson and Senior Taylor Trautman weren’t far behind with 14 and 17 kills, respectively.
“Macalester played really scrappy and smart on offense,” Sherden said. “There were a lot of long rallies. Our team battled and Traut and Hanna were very aggressive and smart on offense. Brittany dug probably 90 percent of the balls hit her way.”
This weekend the Gusties travel to UW-Eau Claire for four non-conference tournament matches before they return home Oct. 18 for another non-conference matchup with Buena Vista. MIAC play resumes on Oct. 21 as the Gusties host Concordia.