#3 Wayne State fends off upset bid from Upper Iowa, caps unbeaten regular season home schedule
Wayne, Neb. -- #3 Wayne State fought off an upset bid from Upper Iowa to outlast the Peacocks in Northern Sun Conference volleyball Saturday afternoon at Rice Auditorium in Wayne.
Scores of the match were 25-17, 18-25, 25-11, 23-25, 15-12. WSC improves to 27-1 and 17-1 in the NSIC and caps a perfect unbeaten regular season at home with an 11-0 record, the first time the ‘Cats have gone unbeaten at home in regular season play. UIU is now 14-11 and 8-10 in the NSIC.
The ‘Cats took the opening set 25-17 thanks to a perfect start by sophomore Taya Beller with five kills on five attacks.
Upper Iowa battled back to capture the second set 25-18 to even the match at one set apiece thanks to 17 kills in the set by the Peacocks. Maggie Brahmer had four kills while Beller added three kills and three blocks.
WSC jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the third set and cruised to a 25-11 set win. The ‘Cats hit .368 in the set while forced eight UIU attack errors and holding the Peacocks to a .024 hitting percentage. Kelsie Cada had six kills to pace the ‘Cats.
Another momentum swing took place in the fourth set as Upper Iowa built a big lead (21-15), then held off a late WSC rally to win the fourth set 25-23.
Trailing 23-19, WSC got kills from Jordan McCormick and Beller along with an attack error and ball handling error from Upper Iowa to tie the fourth set at 23-23. But the Peacocks stopped the Wildcat momentum and used a pair of kills to finish the set and force a fifth between the two clubs.
The fifth set saw WSC jump out to an early lead, only to watch the Peacocks rally before WSC finished with their own rally to cap a 15-12 fifth set win.
The ‘Cats scored the opening three points in the set, but Upper Iowa came back and took an 11-9 lead forcing a Wildcat timeout.
WSC then scored four straight points to take the lead for good. An Upper Iowa service error followed by a pair of kills from Cada and another by Rachel Walker gave the ‘Cats a 13-11 lead.
Following an Upper Iowa kill to cut the WSC lead to 13-12, the ‘Cats used a kill by Brahmer and an Upper Iowa attack error to close the set as the Wildcats held on for the 15-12 vcitory.
WSC finished the match with a .237 hitting percentage compared to a.181 for Upper Iowa. The Peacocks had four more kills than WSC (61-57) while the ‘Cats posted two more digs than the Peacocks 89-87. WSC held an 11-7 edge in blocks while UIU had twice as many service aces as WSC (8-4), but the Peacocks had 13 serving errors to just four by the Wildcats.
Cada led WSC in kills with 17 followed by Brahmer with 16 and Beller 13. Sophomore Havyn Heinz had a team-high 20 digs for Wayne State with senior libero Jessie Brandl adding 18. Jordan McCormick added 15 digs. Setter Rachel Walker accounted for 43 assists and 12 digs in the win. Beller led WSC in blocks with seven followed by freshman Taylor Bunjer with six.
The Wildcats close the regular season on the road next weekend visiting Minnesota State Friday at 6 p.m. and #2 Concordia-St. Paul Saturday at 2 p.m.