WAYNE – A top 25 showdown between two ranked NSIC opponents was featured at Rice Auditorium prior to the conference tourney beginning this week.
#13 Wayne State College hosted #7 Northern State as the Saturday late afternoon match marked the second meeting between the two teams this season. NSU topped the ‘Cats in straight sets in Aberdeen, South Dakota on September 21.
This time around, the Wolves took the early lead but WSC answered back with a set win of their own. Northern State then won the final two sets for a final in four (25-18, 23-25, 25-23, 25-21). NSU improves to 24-4 overall and were crowned regular season league champions with a 17-3 record while the ‘Cats fell to 24-6 (14-6 NSIC). WSC earned the fifth-seed of the 2019 NSIC Volleyball Tourney.
Katie Stephens recorded a team-high 22 kills followed by Tarrin Beller with 17 kills and six blocks (one solo). Alyssa Ballenger added seven kills and three service aces as Jaci Brahmer tallied six kills and five blocks. Double figure dig leaders went to Haley Kauth with 17, Kelsie Cada (four kills) had 15 digs and Hope Carter tacked on 10 digs. Rachel Walker finished with 54 set assists.
Northern State edged Wayne State in hitting, .274 to .235 while recording more aces (8-5) than the ‘Cats as WSC won the block battle (11-10) over NSU.
WSC will open the 2019 NSIC Volleyball Tournament on Friday, November 22 at 5 p.m. against #4 St. Cloud State (23-5/15-5). The ‘Cats swept SCSU in Wayne on October 19.
All three rounds of the conference tourney will be held at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota starting with the quarterfinal round Friday. #2 Minnesota Duluth (23-5/16-4) will open the afternoon against #7 Augustana (20-9/13-7) at noon; followed by #3 Concordia-St. Paul (22-7/16-4) vs. #6 Winona State (21-7/13-7) at 2:30 p.m.; #4 St. Cloud State will face #5 WSC again at 5 p.m. and #1 Northern State will close out the night against #8 Upper Iowa (20-8/12-8) at 7:30 p.m.
#21 Upper Iowa won the tie breaker over national ranked #17 Southwest Minnesota State (18-10/12-8) due to strength of schedule.