Wildcats get big road win over Augustana

No. 22-ranked Wayne State used 16 kills from senior rightside hitter Erin Gross along with double-doubles from sophomore Katie Stephens and freshman Alyssa Ballenger to earn a 25-17, 18-25, 25-23 and 25-18 win at No. 16 Augustana Tuesday at the Elmen Center in Sioux Falls,

The Wildcats rode the hot hitting of Stephens in the first set (eight kills) to post the first-set win. Wayne State forced seven Augustana attack errors while posting a .294 attack percentage to get off to the fast start.

The Wildcats opened the second set with a 6-0 lead, but that advantage quickly evaporated as the Vikings stormed back to take the second set and even the match at 1-1.

Augustana came out on fire in the third set, building leads of 9-3 and 15-9, but Wayne State rallied and turned a 17-14 deficit into a 23-18 lead as the Wildcats finished strong to take the third set. The Wildcats forced eight Augustana errors (three on blocks) and used five kills from Stephens and four by Erin Gross to rally for the set win.

In the fourth set, Wayne State used seven kills from Gross and forced seven more Augustana errors with four coming on blocks, and Megan Gebhardt, Maddie Duffy and Stephens each had service aces to help seal the win.

Gross led a balanced Wildcat attack at the net with 16 kills followed by Stephens with her fourth straight double-double on 16 kills and 18 digs. Alyssa Ballenger accounted for her second double-double of the season with 10 kills and 10 digs. Megan Gebhardt handed out 45 set assists and had two of Wayne State’s four service aces. Haley Kauth notched 16 digs with freshman Hope Carter adding 15 digs.

Wayne State (16-10, 9-7 NSIC) will be on the road this weekend with NSIC matches at Bemidji State Friday at 6 p.m. and Minnesota Crookston Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Wayne Herald

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