Junior middle hitter Erin Gross posted a career-high 19 kills to lead #9 Wayne State College in a 25-22, 12-25, 25-19, 25-21 Northern Sun Conference volleyball win over #8 Augustana University Tuesday evening at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. The host Wildcats move to 16-5 overall and 7-5 in the NSIC while the Vikings drop to 18-4 and 9-3 in league play.
The first set featured 10 ties and five lead changes between the two clubs. With the score tied at 21, WSC got kills from Alyssa Frauendorfer and Megan Gebhardt to take a 23-21 lead. After Augustana scored the next point, the ‘Cats used kills from Alex Opperman and Erin Gross to take the first set 25-22.
Augustana stormed back in the second set, recording 15 kills while holding WSC to just four, as the Vikings rolled to a 25-12 set win to even the match at 1-1.
The third set was close early until the ‘Cats broke away midway through the set for a 25-19 win. With WSC leading 12-11, the ‘Cats scored six straight points highlighted by back-to-back blocks from Frauendorfer and Gebhardt and a solo block by freshman Tarrin Beller for an 18-11 lead. Augustana did score the next three points to get within four at 18-14, but WSC called timeout and used kills from Beller and Frauendorfer and a solo block by Frauendorfer to regain momentum and the ‘Cats won the third set 25-19.
The fourth set was a battle similar to the first with 10 ties and five lead changes. Augustana’s last lead came at 11-10, but WSC took the lead for good scoring the next four points to go in front 14-11.
The Vikings got as close as one at 20-19, but WSC came up with a kill from Gross and a service ace by freshman libero Haley Kauth to go up 22-19 and the ‘Cats closed out the set with back-to-back kills from Frauendorfer to win the set 25-21 and notch their first win over a Top 10 team this season.
WSC hit .212 for the match compared to Augustana’s .188. The Vikings held a 57-49 edge in kills but WSC forced 27 attack errors on Augustana compared to 16 for WSC. Augustana had a 76-68 advantage in digs over the Wildcats but Wayne State had 12 blocks to seven for the Vikings.
Gross recorded a career-high in kills for the second straight game with 19 to lead the Wildcats attack followed by Frauendorfer with 11. Senior Michaela Mestl led the ‘Cats in digs with 16 and moved into fifth place on the all-time list at WSC with 1,685, moving past Renee Fuhr’s 1,683 digs from 1995-98. Freshman libero Haley Kauth added 14 digs followed by Beller with 12, Megan Gebhardt 11 and Bree Ackermann 10.
Gebhardt recorded her third double-double of the year with 34 assists and 11 digs while Kauth had two of Wayne State’s three aces. Senior Alex Opperman led a balanced blocking attack for WSC with five followed by Frauendorfer with four.
The Wildcats will be at home again Friday evening hosting #1 Minnesota Duluth in a 7 p.m. match at Rice Auditorium.