#7 Southwest Minnesota State outlasted #19 Wayne State in a five-set Northern Sun Conference contest played Saturday afternoon at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. Scores of the match were 23-25, 25-18, 13-25, 25-22 and 15-11. The Mustangs are now 7-3 and 2-0 in the league while the Wildcats slip to 8-2 and 1-1 in NSIC games.
The first set was a back and forth battle with 10 ties and six lead changes. WSC took its biggest lead of the set at 17-12 following a Maddie Duffy service ace to force an SMSU timeout. Later in the set, SMSU used three straight kills from Angela Young to take a 21-20 lead and force a Wildcat timeout.
WSC scored the next two points to regain the lead at 22-21 and used a Tarrin Beller kill and another from Katie Stephens to close the set for a 25-23 win. Beller had five kills in the set to lead WSC.
SMSU came back and controlled the second set for a 25-18 win despite five kills from Stephens. WSC hit just .102 in the set while SMSU had 15 kills and a .222 attack percentage.
Wayne State regained momentum in the third set and never trailed in a 25-13 set victory. WSC had 15 kills and a .310 attack percentage in the set, led by Jaci Brahmer with five kills, while the Wildcats forced eight SMSU attack errors.
The fourth set saw the Mustangs rally from an early deficit to force a fifth set with a 25-22 win. WSC held a 12-10 advantage following a kill from Beller, but SMSU surged back and scored six of the next seven points for a 16-13 Mustang lead forcing a WSC timeout.
WSC got as close as one in the fourth set at 18-17, but a service ace from SMSU’s Kaylee Burmeister gave the Mustangs a 23-19 lead and SMSU held on for the 25-22 win.
SMSU jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the fifth set. WSC rallied to even the score at 8-8, but three straight points from the Mustangs gave SMSU an 11-8 cushion to force a Wildcat timeout. WSC got within one at 11-10 following a block by Maddie Knobbe and Beller, but SMSU closed the set with four of the final five points to give the Mustangs a 15-11 win.
Wayne State held a .199 to .187 hitting advantage over the Mustangs, but SMSU held the upper hand in kills 69-58. The Wildcats held the upper hand in blocks 11-8 while SMSU had 114 digs to 103 for the Wildcats.
Stephens led four Wildcat players in double figure kills with 16. Beller had 12 to go with seven blocks while Alyssa Ballenger and Brahmer was recorded 11 kills. Junior libero Haley Kauth had 36 digs followed by Ballenger with 19. Senior setter Megan Gebhardt had a double-double with 51 set assists and 10 digs.
Wayne State will be on the road Tuesday evening for a 6 p.m. NSIC contest at Augustana.