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ISSUE 118 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/17/2004

Volleyball splits at Invite

By Ken Foote
Executive Editor

Friday, September 17, 2004

While the St. Olaf womens volleyball team was not dominant at last weekends 23rd annual Augsburg Invitational, they were at least symmetrical. The 4-4 Oles sandwiched wins against St. Scholastica and the host Auggies between bookend losses to UW-Stout and UW-Eau Claire en route to a fourth place finish.

The split continued a familiar trend for the Oles, who went 2-2 at the UW-River Falls tournament earlier this season.

In the first match of the Augsburg Invitational, St. Olaf drew undefeated UW-Stout and took the first set 30-28. The teams battled to a standstill early in the second set before Stouts powerful front line took control of the net and converted several crucial opportunities. The Blue Devils escaped with a 30-26 second set victory and closed out the match in four sets.

The Oles had little time to dwell on the early loss, as a tussle with St. Scholastica was on tap for later that evening. The match proved to be a polar opposite of its afternoon counterpart, as St. Olaf controlled the net and came up with the big plays when needed.

Only a 30-28 third-set Saints win prevented an Ole sweep as Andrea Otteman 07 slammed home 19 kills and Rebecca Anderson 08 and Jillian Dalen 05 combined for nine blocks.

After an early wakeup call for the 9 a.m. Saturday match, the ladies dropped a tough first set 32-30 against an energized host squad. The Oles emerged from the second set with a hard-fought 30-27 win before kicking their offense into high gear. Setter Audrey Volstad 07 assisted on 57 Ole kills and Dalen added three service aces as St. Olaf won the next two sets by double-digit margins.

Saturdays early morning victory over the Auggies landed the Oles in the third-place match against the Blugolds of UW-Eau Claire. The match which transpired was a back-and-forth struggle, as it took the full five sets to reach resolution.

The Blugolds stormed out of the gate, winning the first set comfortably. The Oles answered back, however, and found just enough momentum to claim the second set 31-29. UW-Eau Claire regained control by flipping the script and nabbing the third game 31-29. The Oles refused to go quietly; the captured the fourth set 30-23 and forced a decisive fifth and final set.

In the end, the Blugold front three were too much as they combined for 22 blocks and 58 kills. A 15-12 fifth set triumph secured third place honors.

Ashley Dennis 07 totaled 17 kills in the losing effort and was the only Ole named to the all-tournament team. Not to be outdone, Anderson registered seven more blocks from her middle blocker position.

After nearly three weeks worth of away games, the spandex-clad lady spikers will finally play on the hardwood of the Skoglund Athletic Center when they take on Gustavus Sept. 22. The action gets underway at 7 p.m.

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