#17 WSC built a two set lead, then held off a Sioux Falls rally to win in five sets in the NSIC volleyball opener for both teams played Thursday evening at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. Scores of the match were 25-19, 25-22, 20-25, 20-25 and 15-12. The Wildcats improve to 6-3 overall and 1-0 in league play while Sioux Falls is 5-1 and 0-1 in the NSIC.
The ‘Cats used a late rally to win the first set 25-19 after the set was tied at 14-14. Tarrin Beller had three kills and three blocks for WSC while Megan Gebhardt, Katie Stephens and Haley Kauth each recorded service aces.
The second set was a battle that saw nine ties and six lead changes. With the score tied at 19-19, WSC used a kill by Alyssa Ballenger and a USF ball handling error to take the lead for good at 21-19. The ‘Cats closed out the set win with back-to-back kills from redshirt freshman to win 25-20.
Sioux Falls came back in the third set, using three service aces and 13 kills, to post a 25-20 set win over the Wildcats.
The Cougars hit a blistering .410 in the fourth set with 18 kills and just two attack errors on 39 attempts as USF forced a fifth and deciding set with a 25-20 set win. The set was tied at 19-19, but Sioux Falls scored five straight points to take control of the set.
In the fifth set, WSC went to senior Erin Gross who produced four kills in the set while Beller accounted for three blocks as the Wildcats used kills from Ballenger and Gross to close the match for a 15-12 fifth set win.
Sioux Falls held a .241 to .228 advantage in hitting percentage over the Wildcats. USF had 65 kills with 24 errors on 170 attempts while WSC had 60 kills on 171 attacks with 21 errors.
USF held a 77-69 advantage in digs, but the Wildcats registered 14 blocks to eight for the Cougars. Sioux Falls had one more service ace than WSC.
Sophomore Katie Stephens led a balanced Wildcat attack with 16 kills and a team-high three service aces. Senior Erin Gross accounted for 15 kills and six blocks while sophomore Tarrin Beller notcied a double-double with 13 kills and 11 blocks.
Junior setter Megan Gebhardt handed out 48 set assists and had four blocks. Sophomore libero Haley Kauth notched a team-high 21 digs with Ballenger adding 12 and freshman Hope Carter chipping in 11.
The Wildcats will be on the road Saturday afternoon visiting #1 Southwest Minnesota State for a 2 p.m. contest in Marshall, Minnesota.