Autumn Zierman – Staff Writer
With finals week swiftly approaching, the end of season for the majority of Gustavus sports teams also lies around the bend. The Gustavus volleyball team just finished up their season, first with a Saturday face-off at Bethel and then a Monday match with St. Olaf.
The Saturday games at Bethel fared better for the Gusties than the St. Olaf games Monday, with the former ending in a split and the latter in a loss. The Gustavus volleyball team split two matches at the Bethel Triangular on Saturday afternoon. The Gusties lost to Augsburg 25-18, 25-14, 25-18 but bounced back with a 25-21, 28-26, 15-25, 25-22 win over Bethel, moving to 4-2 overall season score.
“It was great to see the girls’ response after dropping the first match. We talked between matches about finding three things that they would focus on in the second match, since the first match we didn’t really play our game. The team did a great job executing those couple things and it was the difference between the matches and us playing how we are capable of. Overall a pretty good day against some tough competition and I am happy to come home with a win.” Assistant Coach Alyssa Taylor said in an interview with the Sports information center about Saturday’s game.
Indomitable spirit has been the name of the game this season for the volleyball team.
“I think we showed a lot of resilience and grit this season and it makes me extremely excited to get back in the gym this fall. Our team liked to make comebacks- in almost every big win we had a major comeback at some point, and I really believe this shows the fight we are capable of,” Sophomore Sarah Elliot said.
The first match with Ausberg, though ending in defeat, was fought out by the Gusties who hit .045 on the attack led by six kills from both Sarah Elliott and Courtney Peterson. Kasie Tweet had 17 assists and 10 digs, while Hailey Embacher had 17 digs.
The second match ended far more favorably for the Gusties. Lauren Klaith led the offense with 17 kills and a .318 attack percentage. She also provided 12 digs for a double-double. Elliott added 12 kills and a .263 percentage. Both Tweet and Nora Lehmkuhl had 19 assists. Tweet posted 16 digs as well. Embacher led the team with 22 digs.
The spirit and high of winning a game against formidable competition on Saturday pushed the girls through this Monday, even if they weren’t able to eke out a win, Gustavus made victory difficult for the Oles.
“There was a lot of excitement coming into our last game of the season, and we wanted to replicate how we played vs Bethel into the St. Olaf match, with a lot of excitement, grit, and teamness. We knew that St. Olaf was a really good team and played a fast offense, so we had to play extra scrappy and focused. Even though we didn’t come through with the win, it was extremely competitive, and I am very proud of the way we performed. The games were really close, it was just a matter of finishing,” Sophomore Courtney Peterson said.
The Gustavus volleyball team Monday lost in three sets at St. Olaf by scores of 25-23, 28-26, and 25-21. Courtney Peterson led the offense with 15 kills on 25 attempts and just one error for a .560 hitting percentage. Kasie Tweet quarterbacked the offense with 28 assists. Hailey Embacher led the back line with eight digs. The Gusties wrap up their truncated spring season with a 4-3 overall record.
Overall, with a pretty even win-loss record and innumerable hurdles overcome during the season, the team looks back on the year with pride and turns their eyes forward with anticipation.
“This volleyball season was filled with many uncertainties and obstacles due to COVID. Though this was the case, I feel our team did a great job of rolling with the punches and making the most of the time we got together on the court. I feel grateful to be a part of a team that is filled with such supportives girls and coaches— looking forward to being back in the gym this fall,” First-year Kasie Tweet said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team and girls stepping up and playing. Every team in the MIAC is going to show up and play and we knew regardless we had to take care of the things on our side of the net like intangibles and bettering the ball. While the outcome wasn’t what we wanted for all the games, I believe we have learned a lot about ourselves and can reflect on our growth we made this season,” Senior Hailey Embacher said.