#8 Wildcats Post Dramatic Comeback in Fifth Set to Win at #2 Minnesota Duluth in NSIC Tournament Opener
Thursday, November 17th, 2016
#8 Wayne State College rallied from a two set deficit and a 12-7 deficit in the fifth set to surprise #2 Minnesota Duluth Wednesday evening in the first round of the NSIC Volleyball Tournament at Romano Gymnasium in Duluth, Minnesota. Scores of the match were 20-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-20 and 15-13. WSC is now 24-6 on the season while UMD is 25-4.
The first set featured 11 ties and four lead changes, but UMD surged late to win the set 25-20. With the score tied at 18, the host Bulldogs reeled off five straight points to take a 23-18 lead to put away the Wildcats.
WSC took a quick lead in the second set, thanks to a pair of Michaela Mestl service aces, for a 5-1 lead. But UMD rallied and took a 10-9 lead to force a Wildcat timeout. The final tie of the set came at 11. WSC was still within one at 19-18, but the Bulldogs scored five of the next six points for a 24-19 lead and finished with the 25-20 set win.
The third set saw the Wildcats step up their blocking at the net and gained momentum on the Bulldogs. With WSC leading 14-13, the Wildcats scored the next five points to take a 19-13 lead and the Wildcats never led UMD get closer than three as WSC finished with a 25-20 third set win.
WSC and UMD went back and forth in the fourth set until the ‘Cats finished strong to force a fifth set. The set saw 10 tied and five lead changes. With the score tied at 13, the ‘Cats reeled off six of the next seven points for a 19-14 lead. After UMD scored three straight to force a WSC timeout at 19-17, WSC used a pair of Alex Opperman kills, a Tarrin Beller kill, a pair of Bulldog attack errors and a kill from Alyssa Frauendorfer, her sixth of the set, to finish off the Bulldogs 25-20 to force a fifth set.
The fifth set was close early until UMD took charge midway through the set for leads of 9-4 and 12-7 until WSC staged a furious comeback for a dramatic 15-13 set win.
Trailing 12-7 in the fifth set, WSC used a kills from Erin Gross and a UMD attack error to force a Bulldog timeout at 12-9. The ‘Cats used a pair of Mestl service aces and another kill from Gross to knot the set at 12. A block by Beller and Opperman put WSC in front 13-12 followed by another ace from Mestl giving WSC match point at 14-12.
UMD stayed alive with a kill from Taylor Wissbroecker to make the score 14-13, but WSC got match point with a kill from Gross, her third in the fifth set, to give Wayne State the dramatic comeback victory.
WSC finished the match with a .180 attack percentage, recording 58 kills with 25 errors on 183 attacks while UMD hit .211 with 65 kills and 25 errors on 190 attempts.
Wayne State held a 91-88 edge in digs and had 11 service aces in the win while forcing nine UMD service errors. The Bulldogs had a 12-9 advantage in blocks.
Frauendorfer led WSC with 19 kills and five blocks followed by Mestl with 11 kills, 32 digs and seven service aces. Gross also had 11 kills with two blocks for the ‘Cats. Sophomore setter Megan Gebhardt handed out 50 set assists with 10 digs to go with four blocks while freshman libero Haley Kauth added 20 digs with freshman Katie Stephens producing 13 digs.
Wayne State now advances to the NSIC Tournament semi-finals on Saturday in St. Paul, Minnesota where the Wildcats face #2 seed and #4-ranked Southwest Minnesota State at 12 p.m.