No. 20 Wildcats pick up two wins in Oklahoma

The 20th ranked Wayne State volleyball team improved to 6-0 on the season with a pair of wins Friday at the South Central Volleyball Classic in Durant, Okla.

In the first game, Katie Stephens and Jaci Brahmer combined for 23 kills to help the Wildcats post a 25-14, 25-19, 20-25, 25-16 win over Southern Nazarene.

The Wildcats never trailed in the opening set, taking a commanding 12-4 lead early to force a Southern Nazarene timeout. Wayne State held SNU to just five kills in the set while forcing eight errors.

The second set was much closer as Southern Nazarene built an early 9-6 lead. Libero Haley Kauth then served six straight points for the Wildcats that included a service ace to put the Wildcats in front for good at 13-9. Southern Nazarene got as close as 18-16 before Tarrin Beller put down a kill to help the Wildcats to the 2-0 lead.

Wayne State got down early in the third set as Southern Nazarene got within a set, but the Wildcats bounced back in the fourth set and won a close battle to finish off the match.

Wayne State recorded a .274 attack percentage while limiting Southern Nazarene to .079.  WSC had 46 kills to 39 for SNU and held a 7-3 edge in blocks over the Storm. Both teams served aggressively as SNU had eight aces and seven errors while WSC posted seven service aces and had nine errors.

Stephens led WSC in hitting with 12 kills followed by Brahmer at 11 and Beller nine.  Kauth accounted for 14 digs while setter Megan Gebhardt had 32 set assists. Gebhardt, Kauth and Morgan Alexander each produced two service aces while Beller led the Wildcats at the net with four blocks.

In the second match, the Wildcats hit a sizzling .370 with just four attack errors as the Wildcats cruised to a 25-16, 25-20 and 25-13 win over East Central (Okla.).

Wayne State scored the first four points and never trailed in the opening set. Alyssa Ballenger had four kills to pace the Wildcats, who closed the set with 12 kills and just one attack error while forcing 10 attack errors.

Wayne State continued their strong defensive play in the second game, forcing nine attack errors while playing efficient on the offensive end posting 13 kills and just two attack errors. Ballenger and Beller each connected on four kills to lead the Wildcats at the net while Maddie Duffy served up two aces.

Wayne State closed out the sweep with a 25-13 win in the third set. The Wildcats had six blocks, four by Jaci Brahmer, and had 13 more kills with just one attack error. Ballenger, Beller and Stephens each accounted for three kills in the final set.

Wayne State ended the match with a .370 attack percentage, recording 38 kills and just four attack errors on 92 attacks while East Central hit just .019 as Wayne State forced 28 attack errors while allowing just 30 kills. The Wildcats ended with an 11-3 advantage in blocks and had five service aces with seven errors.

All 14 Wildcats played in the win, led by sophomore Ballenger with 11 kills followed by Beller with 10. Gebhardt handed out 29 set assists while Katie Stephens led with 11 digs. Brahmer led the Wildcats with eight blocks while Stephens and Duffy each accounted for two service aces.

Wayne State will play two more matches at the South Central Classic in Oklahoma on Saturday, facing host Southeastern Oklahoma State at 10 a.m. and 19th ranked Central Oklahoma at 2 p.m.

The Wayne Herald

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