Women’s volleyball is now riding a three game win streak, breaking their slump after losing four straight matches. After playing two tough teams, St. Thomas and Bethel, the team prepared to face Gustavus, the number 10 team in the country. The team showcased solid blocking along with an intimidating defense, but was outmatched in three close sets. Middle blockers Morgan Marxer ’21 and Allison Curry ’19 recorded three blocks. Libero Haley Langeslang ’20 boasted a game-high of 18 digs with Lauren Rewers ’20 and Emily Jarnigan ’20 combining for 17 more.

The MIAC is full of skilled competition, and St. Olaf will certainly have to sustain a high level of play as they move toward playoffs.

After losing to Gustavus, the team rebounded with two, five set wins against UW-Superior and Bethany Lutheran in a triangular tournament in Mankato, Minn. The team then traveled to Crown College to sweep in three sets. With this win, St. Olaf remained undefeated in program history against Crown.

The team currently sits in seventh place in the conference, but looks to improve in the standings when facing College of St. Bendict on Oct .19, Concordia on Oct. 20, St. Mary’s on Oct. 24 and rival Carleton College on Oct. 26.

Earlier in the season, captain Megan Grimes ’19 recorded her 1,000th kill against Bethel in a hard fought, three-set match.  She is only the 10th St. Olaf player to reach the milestone since the 1991 season. This year, Grimes has averaged 3 kills per set.

Grimes looks to lead the team against Minnesota Morris, St. Scholastica and Martin Luther before finishing the season against remaining conference opponents.

The Manitou Messenger caught up with Grimes to reflect on her previous four years and assess her goals for the rest of the season.

Q:This being your senior season, what has St. Olaf meant to you these past four years?

“Being on the St. Olaf volleyball team has been my greatest experience at St. Olaf. I love the women I have been able to play with and grow from.  I honestly don’t know what to expect in two months when my career ends because being an athlete on this team has become such a part of my identity.”

Q: What have you learned playing under coach Emily Foster?

“Emily has been one of the biggest influencers in my life. We talk about what a gift the opportunity to play volleyball is and to enjoy these precious moments with our team while I can. Our team’s mission is, ‘continuous improvement, be inspiring, together we will rise,’ and that has really stuck out to me off the court as well, to live my life with passion and hard work.”

Q: The team seemed to be in a rut, losing three matches in a row. What did your team focus on to win these past two games and get out of that funk?

“Our team is full of women with high-achieving mindsets. And we hold ourselves very accountable. To win these last two matches, we needed to focus on battling the other teams and staying true to our identity of being game finishers.”

Q: You just reached the milestone of 1,000 kills and will finish top 10 in program history. What have you done over the years that has made you so successful?

“When I came to St. Olaf I was put in a position I had never played before. I think that really allowed me to have a growth mindset from the start. Our team is full of great players and we compete everyday in practice. I always wanted to be the strongest hitter in the gym and be undiggable. Having that mindset, learning from my team and simply loving the game has given me the opportunity to get in the game and reach the 1,000 kill milestone.”

Q: The team is full of upperclassmen. How does this leadership help on and off the court?

“On the court, we are able to set standards of how we want our team play in practice and to carry out traditions for the future. Off the court, having so many upperclassmen has helped teach time-management skills necessary to be a student athlete at St. Olaf.”

Q: What are your goals and expectations for the rest of the year?

“Win the MIAC baby! As long as we stay true to our identity and take it game by game, we will take on playoffs and compete.”