#7 Southwest Minnesota State defeated Wayne State College 25-17, 28-26 and 25-21 Tuesday evening in the opening round of the Northern Sun Conference Volleyball Tournament played at the PE Gym in Marshall, Minnesota. The Mustangs advance to the NSIC Tournament semi-finals with a 22-7 record while Wayne State ends the year at 22-9.
The first set was close early until the Mustangs scored seven straight points late in the set to finish off the Wildcats.
Trailing 7-5, WSC scored three straight points for an 8-7 lead that included a Maddie Knobbe kill.
With SMSU leading 13-12, the Mustangs reeled off seven straight points to take a commanding 20-12 lead in the set with Southwest Minnesota State going on for a 25-17 set win.
The second set saw 13 ties and five lead changes exchanged between the two clubs in a set that featured many scoring runs by both teams.
WSC led 9-8, but the Mustangs rattled off five straight points for a 13-9 lead forcing a Wildcat timeout.
The Wildcats returned the favor with their own 5-0 run and regained the lead at 14-13 following a Jaci Brahmer kill.
Later in the set with WSC leading 20-19, the Mustangs scored five straight again and had set point at 24-20. Three Mustang attack errors, a kill from Alyssa Ballenger and a block by Brahmer and Knobbe gave Wayne State set point at 25-24.
With the score tied at 26-26, the Mustangs used a Wildcat service error and a kill from Angela Young to outlast WSC 28-26 for the second set victory.
Wayne State stayed close early with the Mustangs in the third set, but could not overcome nine attack errors as SMSU completed the sweep with a 25-21 third set win.
The Wildcats’ final lead of the set came at 10-9 following a Tarrin Beller kill. The set was still tied at 13-13 until the Mustangs scored six of the next seven points for a 19-14 lead. WSC got as close as 19-18 followed a Knobbe kill, but SMSU put together a 5-0 run to go in front 24-18 and finished with the 25-21 set win.
SMSU hit .205 in the match while holding WSC to a .095 attack percentage. The Mustangs had 52 kills with 20 errors on 156 attacks while the Wildcats had 31 kills, 17 errors and 147 attacks.
The Mustangs ended with an 89-68 advantage in digs and had one more block than WSC 9-8. SMSU had three service aces to one for the Wildcats.
Ballenger ended with 11 kills to lead Wayne State followed by Knobbe with six.
Junior libero Haley Kauth recorded 20 digs with sophomore Hope Carter adding 10.
Senior setter Megan Gebhardt closed out her Wildcat career with a double-double, recording 19 assists and 12 digs. Knobbe led WSC with four blocks followed by Tarrin Beller and Jaci Brahmer with three apiece.