WSC takes sixth seed in NSIC tournament


Tess Riecke

After WSC volleyball’s winning weekend, the Wildcats head to the Northern Sun Conference tournament in the sixth seed. The Lady ‘Cats will face off against the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs today (Nov. 16) to move on to the semifinals, which will be held on Saturday. Duluth, the third seed in the tournament and second in the nation, previously beat the Wildcats in league play 25-21, 25-17, 17-25, 26-24.

Joseph Lovercheck, Staff Writer

Wayne State’s volleyball team ended the regular season on a high note.

WSC used 21 kills from Erin Gross on Friday and Michaela Mestl’s 20 kills on Saturday to secure the team’s sixth and seventh straight wins, respectively.

The ‘Cats are ranked sixth in the conference and will take on Minnesota Duluth Wednesday night in Duluth for the first round of the NSIC conference tournament.

WSC started off the home weekend against MSU Moorhead on Friday. The Wildcats needed all 21 kills from Gross, as the team won the match three sets to two.

WSC started off the first set strong, only to see its late four-point lead turn into a 21-21 tie. The ‘Cats fell to the Dragons in the first set 25-23.

“We came out a little slow, but I thought we played really well over all,” Head Coach Scott Kneifl said.

WSC got ahead early in the second set, 9-3. The Wildcats went on to win the set 25-19, evening up the match, 1-1.

The Wildcats couldn’t handle MSU’s offense in the third set. The Dragons got the set win 25-21 behind 17 kills.

The Wildcats came back in the fourth set ready to play. WSC recorded 18 kills on the way to the 25-20 fourth set victory.

With the match tied at two sets apiece, WSC came back and forced MSU to call a timeout at the 9-6 mark in the set. The ‘Cats did not allow the Dragons any opportunities back in the set, taking the final set 15-9.

“Our side-out percentage was really high and we served very aggressive,” Kneifl said.

When asked what he thought could have been improved, Kneifl said that the blocking could have been better.

The ‘Cats closed out the regular season with Senior Night on Saturday against 20th-ranked Northern State University, winning the match 3-1.

WSC started the match slow, but caught fire late. Trailing 19-13, WSC fought back and won the first set, 25-23.

“We came out a little flat,” Kneifl said. “We need to come out ready to play from point number one.”

During the second set, the Wildcats did not trail. WSC secured the set victory, 25-17, behind 16 team kills.

The ‘Cats led for most of the third set, but Northern State fought back and won the set, 25-23.

WSC again led for the majority of the set, but this time, the Wildcats were able to hold off the Northern State surge late. Wayne took the match victory with a 25-23, to close out the regular season.

WSC ends the season with a 23-6 record, 14-6 in the NSIC. Wayne will be in action today as the ‘Cats open up the NSIC tournament at the #3 seeded Minnesota Duluth.
Kneifl says that the strategy for the coming week is to “play as hard as we can and see what happens.”