Wildcats make it a clean sweep at Embry-Riddle Tournament

The Wayne State volleyball team made it a clean sweep in their season-opening tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla., taking care of Valdosta State (Ga.) and host Embry-Riddle in the second day of competition Saturday.

In the first match of the day, Alyssa Ballenger, Tarrin Bellar and Jaci Brahmer combined for 28 kills and 12 blocks to help the Wildcats to a 25-15, 25-18, 25-17 win.

The Wildcats started hot in the opening set, getting out to a 9-2 lead and leading by as many as 10 at 15-5. Valdosta State never got closer than four points in the first set as Ballenger recorded five kills and Brahmer hit at a 1.000 clip with three kills in as many attacks.

In the second set, the match went back and forth before Brahmer, Ballenger and Maddie Knobbe fueled a 9-2 run and ended the set on a combo block by Beller and Allen native Gabby Sullivan, the last of seven for the Wildcats in the set.

Wayne State got out to a 9-3 lead in the first set and kept things going, leading by as many as 13 at 19-6 and cruising to the easy win.

Ballenger ended with a game-high 11 kills while Beller added 10 and Brahmer had seven. Bellar and Brahmer each had five blocks, Knobbe added four and Megan Gebhardt had three to go with 33 assists. Katie Stephens and Haley Kauth led in digs with 11 and 10, respectively.

In the final match of the weekend, Katie Stephens put up 10 kills and Brahmer added eight to help Wayne State to a 25-14, 25-21, 25-16 win over host Emby-Riddle.

Brahmer got hot in the early going to help the Wildcats hit .370 in the first set while holding the host Eagles to .000 hitting for the easy win.

In the second set, Embry-Riddle got out to a 10-7 lead before Stephens’ three kills fueled an 8-1 run that flipped the momentum Wayne State’s way to give them a 2-0 advantage.

In the final set, Wayne State pulled away from a one-point advantage with five straight points and the Eagles never got closer than three, giving the Wildcats the weekend sweep.

Following Stephens was Brahmer with eight kills and Ballenger with six. Gebhardt had 31 assists and eight digs. Kauth had 14 digs and Morgan Alexander added 11 while Beller had six blocks.

The 4-0 Wildcats go back on the road next weekend to take part in the Southeastern Oklahoma Tournament.

The Wayne Herald

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