Emma Esteb – Sports Writer
The Gustavus volleyball team traveled to Ithaca, New York, this past Friday, September 2 to compete at the Bomber Invintational. While touring the Empire State the Gusties faced off against SUNY Geneseo, Swarthmore College, and Ithaca College. The team went undefeated and battled with tight scores and close sets. The Gusties started the trip out strong with a three set win against SUNY Geneseo on Friday.
They carried this momentum and winning mentality throughout the weekend.
Next, Gustavus faced off against Swarthmore and won the first two sets 26-24 and 25-22. After losing the third set with a close 25-23 score, the Gusties bounced back with a resounding 25-12 win in the fourth set. Senior Sarah Elliott led the offensive team with 14 kills against Swarthmore with Junior Marlee Turn coming in close with 13 kills. Junior Kassie Tweet carried the team with 34 assists and First-Year Maren Sunberg led the team with 13 digs.
“This weekend we really showed our gritty defensive skills in the front row with our blocking and in the back row with picking almost every single ball up,” Senior Courtney Peterson said. Even with this being the first few games of the season, the Gusties have already started to show team cohesion and smoothed out all the first game jitters with two matches on September 2nd and September 3rd.
After facing Swarthmore, the team took on Ithaca College where they were put to the test and came out victorious.
“I feel like everyone really clicked and everything was going really well together so it was so much fun to be a part of that,” Elliot said.
The Gusties swept in three sets, winning 25-23, 25-21, and 25-18. Turn was the front runner for the Gusties where she had 11 kills with Junior Madi Kes rounding out with 10 kills. Tweet shaped the team again with 28 assists while Sunberg also had 19 digs.
“These trips are just the best to get to know everyone. We haven’t had a trip yet because of COVID so it was so much fun to get to fly somewhere with everyone,” Elliot said.
Team travel trips play a vital role in helping shape the team and are an important part of college sports. The team was able to explore upstate New York where they saw a lot of waterfalls, went to the farmer’s market, hiked, and even attended the New York State Fair.
“In preseason you’re just in the gym constantly and we do team bonding at night, but just being able to be with everyone for five days where it’s not all about playing is such a great bonding experience,” Peterson said.
Each game this weekend was very close and put the Gusties to the test. “As a new team and in the beginning of the season it can be really hard to get through that with all the pressure, stress, soreness, or whatever and we pushed through it almost every single time which is really exciting that we are already doing that,” Peterson said. The closeness of the games really set the Gusties up for success, as they were able to lean into each other and set the tone for the rest of the season.
This weekend was the perfect debut for the 2022-2023 Gustie volleyball team. “We have a very dynamic and deep team this year so we have a lot of players that can contribute to the team in so many different ways and it’s not just the starting lineup that’s really strong. The whole team is extremely strong,” Elliot said. The Gustive volleyball team is unique due to how balanced everyone is. All players are pulling their weight and contributing equally to each play.
With this promising start to the season, seniors Elliott and Peterson are most looking forward to soaking in every last moment on the court and making the most of every single day. This weekend set the tone for the Gusties as they are already meshing and are off to a tremendous start. The Gusties will play at 2:30 pm this Friday, September 9, against Pacific Lutheran at the Augsburg Invitational.