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ISSUE 119 VOL 6 PUBLISHED 10/28/2005

Volleyball loses three, backs into playoffs

By Marjorie Thirlby
Sports Editor

Friday, October 28, 2005

After a season filled with numerous close calls and disappointments, the St. Olaf volleyball team hopes to go out on a high note. Despite posting a 0-3 record in their last three MIAC contests, the Oles clinched their second-straight conference tournament berth.

On Oct. 15, St. Olaf traveled to Moorhead, Minn., to play the Concordia Cobbers. Despite winning the first and third games, the Oles were not able to finish off the Cobbers, who beat the Oles in the last two games, 32-30 and 19-17, respectively.

Jessica Levin ’09 contributed a strong performance in the match against Concordia with a career-high 22 kills. The Oles also had four players besides Levin with double-digits in kills, including co-captain Danica Finseth ’06 and Ashley Dennis ’07, who both offered 17.

The following week, the Oles played host to St. Mary’s College on Oct. 19. The team hoped to clinch a MIAC berth by defeating the Cardinals, but they fell short of another win, losing in five games.

Top performers were Otteman, who produced 20 kills and 21 digs, and setter and co-captain Audrey Volstad ‘07, who contributed six set assists and seven kills out of eight attempts. Dennis contributed 19 kills and 19 digs in the loss for St. Olaf.

After falling to the Cardinals, the Oles needed to win one of their final two matches (or have St. Mary’s lose one of their last two) in order to secure a spot in the MIAC tournament. Only the top six teams in the conference make the playoffs.

St. Olaf did not have to wait very long to learn their fate. The team gained a postseason berth on Oct. 21 when St. Mary’s lost in four games to Carleton.

Sunday, with their playoff fate already known, the Oles traveled to St. Joseph, Minn,. to take on St. Ben’s. Unfortunately, the Oles lost to the Blazers in four games.

St. Olaf will head across the river on Wednesday to compete against cross-town rival Carleton for their last MIAC game of the regular season. If the Oles defeat the Knights, or Bethel University loses their final game, St. Olaf will get the fifth-seed spot in the playoffs. If the Oles lose and Bethel defeats Macalester, the Oles will receive the sixth seed.

“Next week we’ll see either Concordia or St. Bens [in the conference tournament],” Finseth said. “Both teams will be equally challenging, but they are beatable.”

Accompanying the Oles in the MIAC playoffs will be first-seeded St. Thomas, followed by Carleton (second), Concordia, St. Ben’s and Bethel.

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