Parker Burman – Staff Writer
Last weekend the Gustavus volleyball team faced off in a home match against Hamline. Heading into the game, the Gusties had an eight game win streak and were 6-0 in conference play. Their 12th 3-0 sweep of the season secured yet another win, pushing their win streak to nine games and keeping them undefeated in conference play.
In the first set, the Gusties jumped out to a 13-3 lead, which they held onto the entire set. The Gustavus attack in set one was led by Juniors Lauren Klaith and Marlee Turn. Both Klaith and Turn racked up four kills, and Senior Sarah Elliott added three kills and several blocks on the way to a 25-10 Gustie win.
“I was able to contribute through blocks and kills. I felt like this game was a better blocking game for me than a hitting game,” Elliott said.
Set two was much of the same for the Gusties as they continued to overwhelm Hamline with their powerful offensive firepower. Junior Kasie Tweet and Turn kept the offense humming as both recorded multiple kills and assists.
“I think our offense was being very efficient and smart. Kasie was keeping a fast offense, and Hamline just couldn’t handle it,” Turn said.
The combination of the offense supported by strong defense and digs from Turn, Tweet, and First-year Maren Sundberg allowed the Gusties to push Hamline to the brink. Set two ended with a 25-9 Gustavus victory, building off a 22-7 lead.
“It really helps when the block is there so you are able to read around them and then get in the right position. Reading is the most important part of defense. You also have to have a very aggressive mindset and just go for every ball and have the goal to not let any ball hit the floor,” Sundberg said.
Set three played out much differently than the first two. Hamline put up a much stiffer resistance to the Gustie attack as they fought not to be swept. This final resistance would not be enough as Gustavus secured the set victory 25-20 and the match victory 3-0.
“It feels very rewarding to know the hard work that we put in every day is being reflected in our play. It is so fun every game to see the progress we make and I love seeing everyone being successful because that makes me want to work harder for them. It’s just a cycle of hard work which pushes everyone else to work hard as well and that is super fun to see and be a part of,” Sundberg said.
Hamline managed to score more points in set three alone than they had in the previous two sets combined, but the Gusties still managed to rack up their stats. Klaith and Turn managed five and four kills respectively, Tweet added 11 assists, Elliot tossed in a pair of blocks, and Sundberg had two assists.
After bumping their win-loss record to 19-4 on the season after the Hamline victory, the Gusties have just four games remaining on their schedule for the regular season. Their only home match up left is 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 29, against St. Mary’s. The first round of MIAC playoffs will start on Tuesday, Nov 1.
With just a handful of games remaining, the Gusties are confident and ready for what they will face in the coming weeks. After a long and grueling season they are ready to show what they are made of come playoff time.
“We feel excited and ready to get down to business entering the final stretch of the season. Our team has grit and passion which creates a great combination,” Elliott says.
“I think our team has a great shot at making a repeat of MIAC champs. We have such a great backrow and our offense is so good across the board that I am excited for the playoffs in a few weeks here,” Turn says.
This weekend the Gusties will face off against Concordia on Friday and CSB on Saturday as they continue their journey toward another MIAC Championship.