Wildcats go 1-1 on roadtrip to Minnesota and Iowa

’Cats won against Upper Iowa 3 - 0, but fell to Winona 1-3

Morgan Cardenas, Staff Writer

The women’s volleyball team faced an intense match against Upper Iowa in Fayette, Iowa, with the Wildcats coming out on top on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m., followed by a hard-fought battle against Winona State in Winona, Minnesota. where they came up short on Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. The team returned home after the two Northern Sun Conference games.

Throughout the three sets, against Upper Iowa both teams would go back and forth in scoring and taking the lead.

The opening set of the game would include 12 ties and four lead changes. The Wildcats took the advantage after a tie at 15 and scored the next five of six points.

After a solo block by Tarrin Beller, the score was 20-16 in favor of WSC and the Peacocks called a timeout.

Upper Iowa battled back after the score was 23-18, with Wayne State leading, by tying the score at 24 points each. However, Maddie Knobbe helped finish out the set with a solo block followed by an error by Upper Iowa to win the set 26-24.

The Wildcats continued the momentum from the first set into the second by taking the lead, 17-11. Upper Iowa fought back to flip the lead to 24-22 after a service error by Beller and a kill from Haley Poula from Uppper Iowa.

A kill from Jaci Brahmer followed by a block from Brahmer and Alyssa Ballenger helped WSC tie the game at 24. With another service error from the Wildcats, the Peacocks took the lead once again at 25-24. Wayne State rallied to win the set 27-25 after a kill from Brahmer, a service ace from Maddie Duffy and a block by Brahmer and Megan Gebhardt.

The final set was similar to the first, with 14 ties and seven lead changes. WSC once again took the lead 10-5 and forced a timeout by Upper Iowa. The score was then tied at 10 after the Peacocks rallied back.

The two teams continued to score back and forth until Upper Iowa took the lead 25-24. However, the Wildcats followed up with a kill from Brahmer as well as a block from Gebhardt. An attack error by the Peacocks helped edge the win in favor of Wayne State 27-25. Wayne State won with 3-0.

Katie Stephens accomplished her third double-double of the year with 10 kills and 15 digs. Gebhardt also got her second double-double with 30 assists and 11 digs. Brahmer had eight kills with seven blocks while Beller and Ballinger had six kills with Beller having six blocks as well. There were 17 digs from Duffy and Morgan Alexander had 14.

“We were really impressed with how our kids battled on the road with being so far away from home,” said coach Scott Kneifl.

At 4 p.m. on Sept. 22, WSC faced off against the Winona State Warriors in Winona, Minn. This match would go four sets and would set record highs for the Wildcats.

Starting off in the first set, Winona State held the lead through the whole set and finished with a score of 25- 20. The pressure from the Warriors caused the Wildcats to commit eight attack errors.

Going into the second set, Wayne State fought back with 14 kills and five blocks to even the score with a 25-18 win. With the five kills from Ballenger and four block sfrom Beller, WSC was able to maintain control and secure the win.

Things heated up in the third set with 10 ties and five lead changes. Scoring went back and forth between both teams until set point at 24-23 when Winona State scored the last three points to win the set 26-24. The Warriors had 12 errors caused by the Wildcats but still managed to pull out the set win.

The back and forth scoring continued into the fourth set until a tie at 15 points. Winona State then took the lead for the rest of the set, closing out the game with a win of 25-17. Winona State won 3-1.

Wayne State had a season-high 17 blocks but also 23 errors to go with it. Knobbe helped with scoring by attributing nine kills while Ballenger and Stephens each had eight. Stephens managed to achieve her career-best 28 digs while Haley Kauth got 21 and Duffy 14.

Brahmer defended well with her nine blocks while Beller had eight and Knobbe six. Two service aces went to Kauth and Duffy.

“We would have liked to win both games, but I thought we played really well at times,” Kneifl said. “Right now, trying to find the consistency of playing at a high level is what we’re struggling with but overall it wasn’t a terrible weekend.”

Kneifl plans on fixing a couple of things going into their next few games. He believes that the team is very hard working and continue to fight throughout their games. The volleyball team is currently 11-4.

“There are little things we plan on tweaking but as the year goes on, it’s just about finding a rhythm within the team,” Kneifl said.

The team is very young but Kneifl believes that is why they are doing well so far. According to Kneifl, being a younger team has helped them gain experience and has helped the team put a lot of work and effort into the game.

The women’s volleyball team will be in St. Cloud, Minn. for their next game against St. Cloud State. The game will be at 6 p.m.