Volleyball moves up to 8th in national rankings


Justin Yost

Senior Wildcat Michaela Mestl passes the ball against Minnesota Duluth on Friday evening. The Wildcats lost the match 25-21, 25-17, 17-25 and 26-24. With an NSIC record of 8-6, the Wildcats move to eighth in the AVCA DII nationall poll this week.

Joseph Lovercheck, Staff Writer

Wayne State College now ranks eighth in the AVCA DII national poll. WSC also had a player named the NSIC offensive player of the week. Erin Gross averaged four kills per set in the three games the Wildcats played last week.

The WSC volleyball team has had a busy two weeks, going 3-2. The two ‘Cat losses came to number six-ranked Winona State and top-ranked Minnesota Duluth.

The Wildcats started with a game against the Winona State University (WSU) Warriors on Oct. 14. Wayne State lost that NSIC match 3-1.

The match was highlighted by the ‘Cats second set. During the second, WSC never trailed and forced eight Warrior attack errors.

WSC lost to Winona State: 25-18, 25-19, 25-20 and 25-23.

The next night, the ‘Cats traveled to Fayette, Iowa, to take on the Upper Iowa Peacocks. WSC won the match in straight sets: 25-14, 25-19 and 25-14.

On Oct. 18, WSC hosted now seventh-ranked Augustana University. The Wildcats came away with the victory, but not without a fight from Augustana.

“It really just shows that we can beat anybody,” Head Coach Scott Kneifl said. “Augustana has a really solid, top ten team. We really played well.”

Gross had a career high in kills, 19, against Augustana.

During the first set, there were 10 ties and five lead changes. With the score tied at 21, WSC used four Wildcat kills to take the first set, 25-22.

The Vikings stormed back during the second set, holding WSC to four kills, while recording 15 of their own. Augustana defeated WSC 25-12 in the set.

Leading 12-11, the Wildcats scored six straight points to break the set open, eventually winning 25-19.

During the fourth and final set, the ‘Cats trailed for a final time at 11-10. That is when WSC rallied off four straight points. The ‘Cats won the set 25-21.

Last Friday, Wayne State hosted top-ranked Minnesota Duluth. The Bulldogs came away with the four set victory: 25-21, 25-17, 25-17 and 26-24.

“To take the number one team in the country to a deuce game in the fourth is a great thing,” Kneifl said. “Obviously, we were disappointed with the outcome. Offensively and defensively, we really stepped up and competed. We played hard and with a lot of energy.”

During the first set, the Wildcats never trailed and recorded 12 kills in the 25-14 set win.

The second set saw the Wildcat defense step up.

“It was a really good bounce back win,” Kneifl said. “It’s definitely a game you have to be aware of, after you play so hard Friday night, you are a little disappointed and you lose. Those games can be a struggle, and you can come out flat.

“This team didn’t do that. We were crisp, we served really aggressive and drove them out of system. We really took care of them. It was a good win.”

The Wildcats hit the road this weekend with matches at Minnesota Crookston and Bemidji State.

“Our goal is to make the conference tournament, and win the conference tournament,” Kneifl said. “Our team knows that. We just have to step up and keep getting better.”