Wayne, Neb. — Sophomore middle hitter Taya Beller’s career-high 18 kills powered #1 Wayne State to a 3-1 Northern Sun Conference volleyball victory Tuesday evening at Augustana. Scores of the match were 25-16, 25-19, 20-25, 25-19. The Wildcats move to 19-0 and 9-0 in the NSIC with the win while the host Vikings drop to 12-5 and 4-5 in the league.
The first set saw the Wildcats use a scoring surge recording six straight and 10 of 11 points to post a 25-16 opening set win.
With Augustana leading 7-6, WSC scored six straight points to take a 12-7 lead and then reeled off five of the next six for a commanding 16-8 lead that forced a Viking timeout.
Sophomore Taya Beller had the hot hand for the Wildcats in the first set with seven kills on eight swings and no errors. Jessie Brandl, Jordan McCormick and Rachel Walker each recorded service aces as the ‘Cats forced Augustana into seven attack errors along with four serving errors
The Wildcats led from start to finish in the second set as Wayne State garnered a 25-19 set win.
WSC got off to a quick 10-4 lead and forced a Viking timeout with a 17-10 advantage. Augustana did close within three several times and was still within 22-19, but WSC used a serving error followed by two attack errors from the Vikings to close out the second set win.
Beller continued to spark WSC in hitting with seven more kills in the second set on 10 attacks and just one error. The ‘Cats forced another seven errors on Augustana to go with three more service errors in the set win.
The host Vikings came out strong in the third set and gained momentum, leading the entire set, for a 25-20 set win to keep the match going.
Augustana built early leads of 10-4 and 17-11, but the ‘Cats got a pair of kills from Maggie Brahmer, a Brahmer and Taylor Bunjer block and a Viking attack error to close within 17-15
A Havyn Heinz service ace cut the Viking lead to 19-18, but Augustana battled back and closed the set with a 25-20 victory.
Despite WSC leading from start to finish in the fourth set, the ‘Cats had to battle the Vikings never holding a lead of more than three until late in the set before finishing off Augustana
With WSC leading 17-16, the ‘Cats scored five straight points on a Brahmer kill, Cada/Brahmer block, a Bunjer kill, Augustana setting error and a solo block from Brahmer to put the ‘Cats in front 22-16. A service ace from Cada on match point gave the Wildcats a hard-fought 25-19 set win over the Vikings.
Brahmer had the hot hand for the ‘Cats in the fourth set with five kills and a pair of blocks. WSC forced another seven attack errors on the Vikings in the fourth set.
Wayne State finished the match hitting .203 compared to .191 for Augustana. The Vikings had 10 more kills than WSC (57-47) but the ‘Cats held an advantage of 11 errors in attacking (28 on Augustana) while the Vikings also had 10 serving errors to just one by WSC.
The ‘Cats held a slight 8-6 edge in blocks while Augustana had nine more digs than WSC 69-60.
Beller led WSC with her career-best 18 kills, one more than previous best of 17 at Molloy (NY) on 8/26/22, followed by Brahmer with 14. Cada posted a team-high 17 digs followed by Brandl with 11 and McCormick 10. Brandl had two aces while setter Rachel Walker had 42 assists.
The Wildcats will be back on the road this weekend visiting Northern State Friday at 6 p.m. and MSU Moorhead Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. contest.