#3 Southwest Minnesota State rallied from a one-set deficit to defeat #8 Wayne State College 23-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-19 in the opening round of the NCAA Central Regional Volleyball Tournament at the Gangelhoff Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Mustangs advance with a 27-5 record while the Wildcats end the year with a 24-8 record.
The Mustangs and Wildcats battled back and forth early and were tied at 5-5 until the Mustangs scored six of the next seven points to force a WSC timeout as SMSU built an 11-6 lead. WSC still trailed 16-10 in the first set when the Wildcats stormed back and gained momentum late in the set to finish with a 25-23 win.
Trailing 18-13, WSC scored five straight points highlighted by a pair of Wildcat blocks, to even the score at 18. The Wildcats took the lead at 21-20 following a Megan Gebhardt kill and pushed the lead to 24-21. After SMSU fended off two straight set points, the Wildcats closed out the set with a Michaela Mestl kill to capture the opening set 25-23.
Wayne State used the first set momentum and held the lead for a majority of the second set until SMSU got hot at the end of the second set to take control of the match.
With the score tied at 7-7, the Wildcats forced an SMSU timeout following an Alyssa Frauendorfer kill giving the Wildcats a 15-10 advantage.
WSC still led 19-15 in the second set when the Mustangs scored nine straight points with six coming on kills from Taylor Reiss that gave the Mustangs a 24-19 lead as SMSU went on to finish with a 25-20 set win.
The Wildcats held the advantage early again in the third set until another Mustang run gave SMSU control of the set. WSC took its’ biggest lead of the set at 9-6 on a Tarrin Beller kill. But SMSU produced seven of the next eight points to take the lead for good at 13-10 and the Mustangs cruised to a 25-13 third set win.
SMSU led from start to finish in the fourth set although WSC stayed close until late in the set as the Mustangs won 25-19 to finish with a 3-1 match victory.
WSC was within two at 15-13 after an Erin Gross kill. SMSU then scored five of the next six points to take a 20-14 lead and the Mustangs finished with a 25-19 set win.
Wayne State hit .174 in the match with 43 kills and 17 errors on 149 attempts while SMSU posted a .354 attack percentage with 72 kills and just 15 errors on 161 attacks. SMSU held a 68-41 advantage in digs and had an 8-5 edge in blocks on the Wildcats. SMSU had five service aces and 13 errors while WSC had three aces and two errors.
Senior Alyssa Frauendorfer led WSC with 12 kills, making her the ninth player in school history to surpass 1,400 career kills with 1,411. Senior Michaela Mestl and junior Erin Gross each added 10 kills for the Wildcats.
Mestl finished with a team-high 22 digs, moving into fourth place on the all-time digs list at WSC with 1,894. Freshman libero Haley Kauth and freshman Tarrin Beller each recorded 13 digs while sophomore setter Megan Gebhardt handed out 39 set assists.
The match marked the final contest for three Wildcat seniors – Alyssa Frauendorfer, Michaela Mestl and Alex Opperman.