Senior setter Megan Gebhardt became the fifth player in school history to reach 3,000 career kills and sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Ballenger posted a career-high 15 kills to power Wayne State College in a 25-16, 25-23, 25-20 Northern Sun Conference volleyball sweep Tuesday evening over Augustana University on Pack the House/Black Out Night at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. WSC improves to 16-5 and 8-4 in NSIC contests while Augustana slips to 7-13 and 2-10 in conference play.
Ballenger and Katie Stephens were the go-to hitters for the Wildcats in the first set. WSC snapped a 5-5 tie with a Ballenger kills, back-to-back kills from Stephens followed by a Tarrin Beller kill to take a 10-6 lead and force an Augustana timeout.
The ‘Cats forced another timeout after building a 19-12 lead and finished the first set with 16 kills and a .325 attack percentage to take the first set 25-16.
The second set was a close battle with 14 ties and six lead changes. Neither team led by more than two points until WSC scored four straight to erase a 18-17 deficit and take a 21-18 lead following two straight kills from Stephens to force a Viking timeout.
Augustana, though, rallied to know the score at 22-22 and again at 23-23, but the ‘Cats got a kill by Ballenger and an Augustana ball handling error on set point to win 25-23.
The only deficit Wayne State faced in the third set was the first point. Tied at 9-9, WSC used an Augustana attack error followed by two straight kills from Maddie Knobbeand another by Beller to take a 13-9 lead.
WSC extended the lead to 17-11 after kills from Jaci Brahmer and Ballenger. Augustana got as close as three before WSC closed the night with an Augustana serving error to sweep the Vikings 25-20 in the third set.
Wayne State finished the night hitting .295 on 45 kills with just six errors on 132 attacks. Augustana posted a .221 attack percentage with 45 kills on 15 errors and 136 attacks. The Vikings had 10 more digs than WSC, 73-63, but the Wildcats held a 7-3 advantage in blocks and 5-2 in service aces.
Gebhardt posted her third double-double of the season with 32 assists and 13 digs and became the fifth player in school history to record 3,000 career assists (3,001).
The Wildcats will be on the road this weekend, visiting #2 Northern State Friday night at 6 p.m. and MSU Moorhead Saturday for a 2 p.m. contest.