Wildcats roll past Northern State in NSIC tournament play
SIOUX FALLS, SD (NSIC) - No. 15 Wayne State College served up a season-high 12 service aces while redshirt freshman middle hitter Taya Beller matched a career-high with 16 as the Wildcats defeated Northern State Thursday evening in the opening round of 2021 Northern Sun Conference Volleyball Tournament held at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Scores of the match were 25-22, 25-10, 20-25, 25-18. WSC improves to 22-7 on the season while Northern State ends the year with an 18-11 record.
The first set was close with neither team holding a lead of more than three points highlighted by 10 ties and three lead changes. With the score knotted at 19-19, Northern State used a WSC service error and a block to take a 21-19 lead.
NSU still led 22-21, but WSC scored the final four points of the set to take a 25-22 first set victory. Two straight kills from Jaz DeHaan followed by back-to-back kills from Maggie Brahmer closed out the set for the Wildcats. Brahmer and Beller each had five kills to pace WSC in the opening set as the Wildcats hit .481 with 16 kills to start the match.
The second set was all Wildcats as WSC raced out to a 13-4 lead and were never contested in a convincing 25-10 set victory. WSC hit a sizzling .560 in the set with 15 kills and just one error on 25 attacks. Jordan McCormick had two of Wayne State’s four service aces while Beller had five kills on eight swings followed by DeHaan with four kills in the set.
The third set saw WSC hold the lead early, in front 11-8. But a 7-2 run by the Wolves put Northern State ahead 15-13 to force a Wildcat timeout. The Cats were still within two at 19-17 in the third until the Wolves took a 22-18 lead and finished the set with a 25-20 win thanks to 17 kills while forcing six WSC errors.
The fourth set saw WSC trail only twice as the ‘Cats turned a close 9-8 lead early into an 18-12 lead and WSC finished the match with a 25-18 fourth set win to prevail in the match 3-1.
WSC had four service aces in the set (two from Kelsie Cada) while Northern State had four service errors. Cada and Beller each had four kills in the set to lead the Wildcats.
Wayne State ended the match with a .309 hitting percentage compared to .250 for the Wolves. WSC had a slight 56-53 edge in kills and 62-57 in digs. Northern State had a 7-3 lead in blocks, but WSC posted a season-high 12 service aces with just five errors while NSU had two aces and 10 service errors.
Beller paced Wayne State in hitting, matching her career-high with 16 kills. Jaz DeHaan contributed 12 kills while Cada had 11 and Brahmer 10 with a .500 hitting percentage.
McCormick led the ‘Cats in digs with 13 and had three service aces while Cada notched her ninth double-double of the year with 11 kills, 10 digs, and three service aces. Sophomore setter Rachel Walker was credited with 46 set assists.
Wayne State now faces top seed St. Cloud State Friday evening at 7 p.m. in the NSIC Tournament semi-finals at the Sanford Pentagon.
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