The St. Olaf College volleyball team secured a home match in the upcoming Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) playoffs by sweeping crosstown rival Carleton College by scores of 25-12, 25-22, 25-9 on Senior Night on Friday night at Skoglund Center.
In its regular-season finale, St. Olaf (25-4, 8-3 MIAC) hit an even .500, its highest mark of the season, to ease past Carleton (6-20, 2-9 MIAC). Sophomore Katelyn Lannom had 15 kills on 18 swings to hit .833, while senior Lauren Rewers added 11 kills while hitting at a .474 clip in the win.
With the victory, and an Augsburg loss against St. Thomas, St. Olaf assured itself of either the No. 2 seed in the MIAC playoffs. The top-two seeds receive byes into the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs, and the Oles will start their postseason in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday at home against the winner of Tuesday’s match between No. 3-seeded St. Benedict and No. 6-seeded Bethel. The conference championship is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at either St. Olaf or St. Thomas, depending on if the top-seeded Tommies win their semifinal contest.
Prior to the match, St. Olaf recognized Rewers, Emily Jarnigan, Haley Langeslag and Abigail Wiedel for their efforts over the last four seasons. The senior class has helped transform the Oles from a 1-10 team in conference play during their first year to the top-ranked team in the Central Region this week.
Junior Lexi Wall handed out 44 assists for the Oles in the victory and added seven digs, while Jarnigan recorded a team-high 20 digs. Junior Summer Reid, first year Nicole Banitt and junior Morgan Marxer also contributed nine, eight and seven kills, respectively.
St. Olaf hit .500 with 19 kills and just three errors on its way to a 25-12 set win in the opening set. The Oles seized control of the set with an 8-0 run behind the serve of Jordan Melz that put St. Olaf ahead, 14-4, and led by at least six the rest of the way.
The Knights pushed the Oles in the second set, holding a 21-20 lead at the tail end of the set. Down one, St. Olaf won the next four points, prompting a pair of timeouts by Carleton, to bring up set point and eventually closed the set out, 25-22, on a service error by the Knights.
Like the first set, the Oles went on an 8-0 run early in the third to take a substantial lead at 12-2, with Rewers hitting three aces during the run. St. Olaf led by as many as the final margin, 25-9, on its way to closing out the win. The Oles hit .619 with 14 kills and one error on 21 swings in the third set.