The St. Olaf volleyball team wrapped up the regular season with a 23-6 record, finishing with a home-win against the Carleton Knights. St. Olaf finished sixth in the MIAC conference with a 7-4 record.
On Oct. 26, before the match against Carleton, St. Olaf Volleyball spent time honoring their three seniors: middle Mikayla Grossman ’19, outside hitter Megan Grimes ’19 and middle blocker Alison Curry ’19. These three seniors have contributed immensely to the program’s successes in the last four years. Since their arrival on campus four years ago, the team has posted 63 victories, including back-to-back 20-win seasons, resulting in consecutive berths in the MIAC playoffs.
After recognizing the hard work and dedication of the three seniors, the team took care of business, beating Carleton in four sets (25-17, 20-25, 25-15, 25-21). The team finished with a total of nine team blocks and 54 kills, assisted by 47 sets from setter Lexi Wall ’21. St. Olaf’s defense looked very strong throughout the match, recording 58 digs. Libero Haley Langeslag ’20 led the team with 20 digs in helping hold Carleton hitters to just 42 kills on a .152 hitting percentage. The team will be the first to take home the cowbell, the newest rivalry trophy between St. Olaf and Carleton.
The wins against Carleton, St. Mary’s and Concordia helped the team clinch a spot in the conference playoffs. As a sixth seed, St. Olaf was scheduled to play St. Thomas on Oct. 30. The two teams met earlier in the season on Sept. 26, and St. Thomas beat St. Olaf in four sets. That game was only St. Olaf’s second loss of the season. St. Thomas is solid defensively and has several strong hitters. St. Thomas finished third in the conference, with a 9-2 record against MIAC opponents.
The St. Olaf team fell to St. Thomas in three hard-fought sets (25-21, 26-24, 25-21). Lauren Rewers ’20 and Katelyn Lannom ’22 both swung for 13 kills in the team’s offensive attack. St. Thomas will advance to play St. Ben’s on Nov. 1 in the semifinals match.
The Manitou Messenger had a chance to speak to one of the seniors, Mikayla Grossman, about the team’s finish to the regular season.
Q: What does the rivalry with Carleton mean to you? It seems both teams play well against one another, what is it like to beat your cross-town rival?
A: “After discussing the rivalry between St. Olaf and Carleton, someone asked why a rivalry trophy for volleyball was never created. We decided this was the year to start one. Choosing a cowbell as the rivalry trophy was easy – Northfield is called the town of ‘cows, colleges, and contentment,’ so we thought the cowbell was pretty fitting. It’s true that no matter how both teams’ seasons have been going, the rivalry game is exciting, competitive and never an easy win. I think that adds an additional layer of excitement to the game. Personally, the rivalry game against Carleton is very special to me. My mom was an Ole and my dad was a Carl, so Carleton/St. Olaf rivalry games have always been fun, competitive events in my family since I was a little girl.”
Q: What made senior day so special? What was it like to be part of a successful program over the years?
A: “Senior day would not have been what it was without the support system us three seniors have around us. Our teammates, coaches, families, and fans went above and beyond to recognize us that day. In addition, this senior day was the first time us seniors have ever beaten Carleton, so that definitely made it a memorable day. The first word that comes to mind when being asked what it’s like to be a part of such a successful program is gratitude. I am so thankful to have spent my career with a group of amazing women who are truly my best friends. St. Olaf Volleyball is a family and I am honored to be a part of a program that values the character of its players on and off the court.”