St. Olaf volleyball was in action twice last weekend against Concordia and the College of St. Benedict. The Oles were competitive in both matches, taking both opponents to four sets, but in both match- es they fell just short of victory.
In the first match against Concordia, the Oles lost a competitive first set 23-25 and surrendered the second 17-25 before clawing their way back to take a hard fought 25-22 victory in set number three. After gaining momentum, St. Olaf seemed poised to achieve a comeback and pull off the upset. Ultimately, however, Concordia proved too difficult a chal- lenge for St. Olaf to overcome, convinc- ingly taking the fourth set 25-16 and the match along with it.
Lauren Rewers ’20 and Megan Grimes ’19 generated the Oles’ primary offense, posting eleven and ten kills, respectively. Abigail Wiedel ’20 played her part with
a team-leading 22 assists, while veteran Abby Slack ’17 recorded 17 digs in the match, accounting for a large portion of St. Olaf’s defense. Sophie Schwartz ’17 assisted that effort by adding three blocks of her own.
The following day the Oles faced off against St. Benedict. St. Olaf leaped to an early lead by taking the first set with a convincing score of 25-16, encourag- ing optimism and setting the pace of the match. However, the Oles couldn’t keep that momentum going as St. Benedict won each of the next three sets by scores of 25-11, 25-21 and 25-21, closing out the match and handing the Oles their 11th defeat of the season.
Wiedel posted 19 assists, supported by Renata Erickson ’19 who recorded 15 assists of her own. Slack and Grimes led the team in digs and kills with 19 digs and 13 kills, respectively.
Both losses come as devastating shocks because neither opponent was particular-
ly intimidating. Coming into their match- es against St. Olaf, Concordia possessed a modest 6-7 and St. Benedict sat at a com- parable 7-8, compared to an Ole squad that began the season with a convincing five-match win streak and an encourag- ing 7-3 record. This should have been St. Olaf’s chance to gain a couple of easier wins against weaker conference rivals and accrue some momentum before facing the MIAC’s best during their final stretch of the season.
Instead, St. Olaf has now lost eight consecutive matches and remain winless in conference play, making the season look grimmer than ever. The Oles must get back on track quickly, and they only have three weeks to do it. They’ll look to right the ship next week with three consecutive home matches against North Central, Martin Luther College and first- place conference titan St. Mary’s.