Kneifl achieves 300th victory over winning weekend

Joseph Lovercheck, Staff Writer

WSC volleyball had another player named NSIC Player of the Week, Erin Gross has won the NSIC Offensive Player of the Week, for the second time in three weeks.
Gross posted a .460 attack percentage during the Wildcats’ pair of road victories this week, where they beat Minot State and the University of Mary.
The Wildcats stay stagnant in this week’s AVCA Div. II Coaches poll, ranking eighth for the third week in a row. WSC is now 21-6, and 12-6 in the NSIC.
On Friday against Minot, Michaela Mestl made history of her own when she became the WSC career service aces leader early in the third set.
“Our team has been playing well of late,” Head Coach Scott Kneifl said. “We have had a lot of players step up in the last few weeks as you can see by the awards, but I’m sure they’d all tell you that they just want the team to do well and be playing its best in the next week.”
The ‘Cats started off great offensively in the first set, recording 15 kills and only one attack error to cruise to a first set victory, 25-13.
During the second set, the Wildcats forced seven Minot State attack errors, while holding the Beavers to a .138 attack percentage, securing the second set 25-16.
The ‘Cats completed the sweep 25-19 in the third set.
“We were very balanced,” Kneifl said. “The more balanced our offense can be, the harder we are to stop.”
Saturday’s match against University of Mary was a milestone for Kneifl. The win over the Marauders was the 300th WSC win for Kneifl, who is now has an overall record of 300-101 at WSC.
“Makes me feel old,” Kneifl said about the achievement. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach so many great players and work with great coaches like Coach Depew for several years. They are obviously just as responsible as me for any achievements our program may reach.”
The first set of the match against U of M was highlighted with 13 kills from the Wildcats. Five of those kills came from freshman Tarrin Beller, helping the ‘Cats take the first set 25-21.
During the second set, the Marauders came storming back, taking the second set 25-22. The University of Mary used 18 kills in the set that featured 11 ties and three lead changes to overpower the Wildcats.
WSC stepped up its defense during the third set, forcing seven Marauder attack errors to win the third set 25-14.
The ‘Cats closed out the 3-1 win with a 25-18 third set victory. WSC was led in the set by Mestl, who had six kills and one service ace in the final set.
“We managed the two longest road trips in our league on back-to-back weekends without a loss, so we are excited about that,” Kneifl said.
WSC will close out the regular season at home this weekend. The ‘Cats host MSU Moorhead on Friday night at 7 p.m. and 14th-ranked Northern State on Saturday at 2 p.m.