Wildcat beach volleyball goes 2-1 in Shawnee

Nate Bope, Staff Writer

The Wayne State College women’s volleyball team went 2-1 this past weekend at Ottawa (Kansas) Beach Tournament at Shawnee Mission Beach in Shawnee, Kansas. The results from this tournament push the Wildcats overall record to 8-4 on the season.  

The sand has been a wonderful tool to grow as a team,” junior Isabelle Vacek said. “We are seeing more confidence and some ‘beachy’ skills indoors. Furthermore, our court dynamic of talking and cheering has influenced the sand games. The communication needed in the beach has helped our indoor game and our emphasis on indoor talking has helped us prepare for the sand.” 

Kicking off the tournament, the Wildcats drew a matchup with the Evangel University Valor. The Wildcats earned a 5-0 sweep against the Valor, as top pairing Taya Beller and Allie Petry won the opening match 21-7, 21-8. The Valor did not have any more pairings to match up with the Wildcats, so the rest of the pairings earned automatic wins.  

The second game pit WSC against the 10th-ranked National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school in the Missouri Baptist Spartans. In the most thrilling match of the day, the Wildcats top pair of Petry and Beller fell in straight sets, 21-19 and 21-18. 

The second pairing of Kelsie Cada and Jordan McCormick picked up the first win for the Wildcats in a straight set victory, 21-13 and 21-14, over the Spartans duo.  

The third pairing of Vacek and Ally Beresford fought hard, but ended up going down by a score of 21-17 and 22-20 in two sets.  

The Spartans were up two games to one. The Wildcats came back to tie the match at two games each off a thrilling three-set win by fourth pairing Brooke Peltz and Rachel Walker, 21-16, 21-23 and 15-13. In the deciding fifth match, WSC pairing Havyn Heinz and Maggie Brahmer pushed the game to a third set, but ultimately fell short, 16-21, 21-19 and 15-11.  

Missouri Baptist did good things during the match and we also did good things,” Vacek said. “My partner and I did a good job of serving and attacking. However, we needed to adjust the game plan a bit sooner in the second set and that could’ve made the outcome a bit better.” 

The Wildcats closed out the tournament with the host team, the Ottawa University-Kansas Braves. WSC cruised through this matchup, with all five pairings easily bringing home victories.  

WSC is scheduled to host the Braves on Wednesday, March 29. The matchup will be taking place at the WSC Beach Courts in Wayne. This will mark the first and only home match on the schedule, weather permitting, as weather was a deciding factor in cancelling last year’s home match. 

It would be amazing to have a sand home match in Wayne,” Vacek said. “We have a wonderful fan base and support in Wayne. It would be beyond exciting to be able to play home matches and show the city of Wayne how WSC Beach Volleyball works.”