#15 Wayne State College came back from losing the first two sets to rally for a 22-25, 17-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-8 win at #18 Upper Iowa Saturday afternoon in Northern Sun Conference volleyball played at Dorman Gymnasium in Fayette, Iowa. The Wildcats complete a road sweep of Top 20 opponents over the weekend, improving to 15-2 and 6-2 in the NSIC, while the host Peacocks fall to 12-4 and 4-4 in league contests.
WSC held an early 10-7 lead in the opening set, but UIU reeled off seven straight points to grab a 14-10 lead. The ‘Cats rallied again and held a 20-17 lead, but the Peacocks came back one more time and rallied for a 25-22 set win.
Upper Iowa led from start to finish in the second set, hitting .375 with 19 kills as the Peacocks took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-17 set win.
Things did not look good early in the third set for the ‘Cats, trailing 14-9 at the midway point. But senior outside hitter Katie Stephens rallied WSC in the set by recording seven kills with Alyssa Ballenger adding five as the Wildcats stayed alive in the match with a 25-23 third set win.
The momentum carried over to the fourth set as WSC took a 11-4 lead following back-to-back service aces from senior Tarrin Beller. After UIU got within two at 17-15, WSC used a Peacock service error, attack error and a block from Stephens and Jaci Brahmer to take a 20-15 lead and the “Cats finished with a 25-21 set win to force a fifth.
WSC forced nine UIU attack errors in the fourth set that included six blocks while Beller had four kills and two service aces to highlight the set win.
It was all Wildcats in the fifth set as WSC held Upper Iowa to a -.095 attack percentage with six errors and just four kills while Stephens and Ballenger carried the Wildcats attack with five and three kills respectively as WSC cruised to a 15-8 fifth set win to complete the comeback.
Wayne State finished the match hitting .182 while holding UIU to a .158 percentage. The Peacocks had 12 more kills than WSC, 68-56, but the Wildcats were strong blocking at the net with a 12.5-5.0 edge over UIU. Both teams had five service aces, but UIU had 11 serving errors to just four by the Wildcats.
Stephens led Wayne State in kills with 18, 15 of them in the final three sets. Beller added 15 kills while Ballenger contributed 10 in just three sets of work. Jaci Brahmer had eight kills and led WSC in blocks with eight while Maddie Knobbe had five.
Senior libero Haley Kauth and junior Hoper Carter both accounted for 26 digs with Carter posting a career-high. Junior defensive specialist Morgan Alexander had 14 digs in three sets of play.
Redshirt freshman setter Rachel Walker was credited with 48 assists and 10 digs.
Wayne State will be at home Tuesday evening hosting #9 Southwest Minnesota State in a NSIC contest beginning at 6 p.m.