For the second straight match, the Wayne State College volleyball team rallied from a two-set deficit to win a Top 20 NSIC volleyball match as the 11th-ranked Wildcats stormed back to top #12 Southwest Minnesota State Tuesday evening at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. Scores of the match were 21-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-14 and 15-10. WSC is now 16-2 on the season and 7-2 in the NSIC while SMSU falls to 11-6 and 5-4 in league games.
Southwest Minnesota State posted a match-high 20 kills in the opening set, hitting .378 to defeat the Wildcats by a 25-21 score.
The Wildcats started slow in the second set trailing 8-3 early. WSC rallied and took short lived leads of 13-12 and 14-13 before SMSU gained momentum and built a 19-15 lead and the Mustangs took a two set lead with a 25-22 second set victory.
WSC trailed for most of the third set before rallying to win the set to keep the match alive. SMSU held a 18-14 lead, but the “Cats rallied and took the lead for good at 21-20 on an SMSU attack error and used back-to-back kills from Katie Stephens for a 23-20 advantage before finishing with a 25-21 set win.
Everything clicked for the Wildcats in the fourth set, resulting in a 25-14 win. WSC held SMSU to a -.031 attack percentage by forcing 12 errors that included six blocks. The Wildcats were also efficient at the net with 10 kills and just one error on 20 attacks for a .450 percentage to force a fifth set against the Mustangs.
The fifth set was a tight battle until WSC scored the final five points to snap a 10-10 tie as the Wildcats pulled off another rally for the victory.
WSC held a 10-8 lead with SMSU scoring the next two points for a 10-10 tie. An SMSU ball handling error and service ace from Maddie Duffy gave the Wildcats a 12-10 lead. Kills from Kelsie Cada and Tarrin Beller put the ‘Cats in front 14-10 with match point coming on an SMSU attack error to cap the 15-10 fifth set win.
Wayne State finished the match with a .284 attack percentage compared to .153 for SMSU. The Mustangs held a 63-55 advantage in kills, but the Wildcats forced a season-high 35 attack errors while making just 11.
SMSU had 9 service aces and 11 service errors in the match while WSC produced six aces and had 11 serving errors. WSC held a 9-4 edge in blocks over the Mustangs.
Beller led Wayne State in hitting with 16 kills followed by Jaci Brahmer and Katie Stephens with 11 each. Beller also paced the Wildcats in blocks with seven.
Senior libero Haley Kauth recorded 16 digs with Hope Carter adding 13 and Cada producing 11. Kauth, Carter and Duffy each had two service aces. Redshirt freshman setter Rachel Walker recorded 45 set assists in the win.
The Wildcats will be at home again Friday evening hosting #7 Minnesota Duluth in a 6 p.m. NSIC contest.