Despite a career-best 22 kills from senior outside hitter Katie Stephens, #13 Wayne State College fell at home to #7 Northern State Saturday afternoon in Northern Sun Conference volleyball played at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. Scores of the match were 25-18, 23-25, 25-23 and 25-21. NSU is now 24-4 and 17-3 in the NSIC while WSC is 24-6 and 14-6 in league games.
The opening set saw WSC build a 13-9 lead, but Northern State stormed back and scored the final five points of the set to post a 25-18 win. Stephens got off to a hot start for the Wildcats with nine kills on 18 attempts to lead WSC.
The second set saw NSU hold an early 10-8 lead, but WSC reeled off five consecutive points to gain control for a 13-10 lead. After WSC took a 16-12 lead, the Wolves rallied to knot the score at 17-17 and took a pair of leads with the last coming at 20-19.
WSC then used a block from Tarrin Beller and Kelsie Cada followed by a NSU attack error and a Cada kill for a 22-20 WSC lead with the ‘Cats ending the set on a 25-23 win.
Tarrin Beller accounted for five kills in the set to lead the ‘Cats.
Northern State built a 6-0 lead early in the third set and led 20-12 before holding off a late Wildcat rally for a 25-23 win. Stephens produced five kills and no errors on eight attacks while Beller had four kills with two blocks in the set.
Wayne State led a majority of the fourth set until a late Wolve rally gave Northern State a 25-21 win.
The ‘Cats started with a 5-1 lead, but NSU came back and neither team led by more than three points until the final points of the set.
Wayne State’s last lead was 19-17 following a Beller kill. Northern State scored five straight points to take the lead for good at 22-19 and the Wolves finished with a 25-21 set win.
Northern State hit .274 in the match compared to .235 for Wayne State. The ‘Cats had 57 kills with 18 errors on 166 attacks while NSU recorded 63 kills on 20 errors and 157 attacks. WSC had one more block than NSU 11-10 while the Wolves held an 8-5 edge in service aces.
Stephens led WSC with her career-best 22 kills while Beller added 17. Beller paced the ‘Cats with six blocks while Jaci Brahmer had five. Senior libero Haley Kauth notched 17 digs with Kelsie Cada adding 15. Hoper Carter added 10 digs.
Junior Alyssa Ballenger had three of Wayne State’s five aces while setter Rachel Walker was credited with 54 set assists, a season-high.
Wayne State will play in the Northern Sun Conference Tournament starting Friday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Wildcats will be the #5 seed (24-6, 14-6 NSIC) and will face 4th-seeded St. Cloud State (23-5, 15-5 NSIC) in a 5 p.m. contest.