BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Volleyball teams combined to post a 67-26 (.720) record during the first two weeks of the 2018 season. Seven of the 12 MIAC teams are currently sitting with one loss, while 10 have records of .625 or better heading into Conference play on Wednesday.
Gustavus Adolphus College is ranked No. 9 in the nation again this week in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25. The 7-1 Gusties received 1168 points in the Week 1 balloting.
Ausburg and St. Thomas each received votes in the latest poll. The next AVCA Poll is due to be released on September 18.
Saint Benedict sophomore twins Madison Weiss and Hunter Weiss rank No. 2 and No. 4 in the nation, respectively, in blocks per set. Madison is averaging 1.84 blocks per set, while Hunter is not far behind at 1.44. As a team, CSB is ranked No. 3 in D-III with an average of 2.81 blocks per set.
Saint Mary's setter Lillian Braun totaled 63 assists in a five-set match against Luther on September 1, which remains the fifth-highest assist total in Division III this season.
In a five-set loss to Wis.-La Crosse last Saturday, St. Thomas registered 235 total attacks, the second-highest five-set sum in the country this season.
AROUND THE MIAC
Two-time MIAC Defensive Player of the Year Macey Terhell had an impressive last week for the Auggies. The senior defensive specialist recorded 106 digs, including a tournament-best 94 in the Augsburg Invitational, earning her All-Tournament Team honors. No other player had more than 71 digs in the tournament. She finished with three 20-plus-dig efforts on the week.
Bethel middle block Karin Canakes hit better than .350 in three of four matches last week, including an attack percentage of .421 against a strong Wis.-Stevens Point team.
Carleton defensive specialist Celeste Chen was selected as the Knights' representative on the ACM All-Tournament Team in Appleton, Wis. last weekend. She totaled 82 digs over four matches, an average of 4.82 per set, including a season-best 25 against Ripon College.
Concordia will look to get back to the form its showed in August when the Cobbers started the season 2-0 before heading down a six-match slide. Senior outside hitter Haley Cuppett leads the Cobbers with 87 kills on the season, an average of 3.00 per set - seventh-best among all MIAC hitters.
Gustavus senior Lauren Hanson posted a .262 attack percentage and totaled 46 kills as the Gusties won the Loras Invitational over the weekend. Hanson tallied a season-high 18 kills to go along with nine blocks and a .326 hitting percentage in a 3-2 win over No. 14-ranked Northwestern-St. Paul on Saturday and in the process became just the 14th Gustie in history to reach 1,000 career kills.
Hamline setter Megan Rubbelke posted a double-double with a career-high 43 assists and 28 digs in a loss to Wis.-Superior on Friday and came back with 23 more assists in a sweep of Marian (Wis.) on Saturday. The sophomore is averaging 8.31 assists per set this season, sixth-best among all MIAC competitors.
Grace Brickner led Macalester in kills in each of the Scots' five matches last week. In a 3-1 win over Beloit at the ACM Tournament, Brickner put away a career-high 16 kills and added 14 digs for a double-double. She also had 14 kills in a win over Lawrence and added 12 more in a victory over North Central.
Sophomore setter Katie Koch had another big week to help Saint Benedict finish 3-1. She recorded three double-doubles last week, including 45 assists - which tied her career-high - and 14 digs in a 3-1 loss to Valley City State. She finished the weekend with 184 assists and 49 digs, averaging 10.22 assists per set in the five matches. She leads all MIAC setters with 313 assists on the year.
St. Catherine sophomore Erin Cutts ranks third among all MIAC players with a hitting percentage of .379 on the season. She and teammate Mackenzie Peper boast two of the Conference's nine hitting percentages north of .300 in 2018.
Saint Mary's outside hitter Brandi Blattner compiled a team-leading 44 kills and hit .259 in the Cardinals' three tournament matches at the Wis.-Stevens Point Tournament last weekend. Blattner kicked off the action with seven kills against Wis.-Stevens Point before adding a double-double of 22 kills and 14 digs against Lakeland and 15 kills and eight digs against Concordia (Wis.).
St. Olaf's Lauren Rewers totaled 46 kills and hit .446 for the Oles last weekend as her squad went 4-0 at the ACM Tournament in Appleton, Wis. The junior outside hitter also contributed seven aces, 26 digs, and three block-assists. Rewers had 13 kills apiece in sweeps of Ripon, Lake Forest, and Lawrence, and hit at least .346 in all four matches.
Back on the court after missing much of last season with an injury, St. Thomas defensive specialist Ellie Meyer has been a challenge for opponents to handle in 2018. Meyer leads all MIAC players with 19 service aces this season, averaging 0.66 per set.