Beach volleyball sweeps Braves during first home beach volleyball matches

Nate Bope, Staff Writer

The Wayne State College beach volleyball team swept a two-game series on Tuesday, March 28 against the Ottawa University Braves.  

Both matches were won by a score of 5-0 (five games to zero games). These matches also marked the first ever home matches for Wildcat beach volleyball. The two wins push the Wildcats record to 10-4 as the regular season comes to a close. With the two losses, the Braves fall to just 1-15 on the year.  

“Just like our fall season in 2022, it was history in the making to be able to play a home beach volleyball match in Wayne,” Kelsie Cada said. “We were used to having to travel to warmer destinations or even just playing against ourselves here when we got the chance, but to actually compete against a different component was very memorable. All of the staff that worked the event helped to create a fun and new atmosphere that made Wayne State history.” 

The Wildcats and Braves had played just a couple of weeks ago in the Ottawa Beach Tournament, which the Wildcats won 5-0. No games went into a third set and no sets during that match went into extra points. Similar results played out on Tuesday. 

Heading into the day’s contests, the weather may have provided a little challenge to the volleyball players. The weather at the start of the first match, although the sun was shining, was roughly in the mid-to-low 40s with a chilly wind that blew almost constantly.  

The Wildcats ran through the Braves with little trouble over the two contests. The top pairing of Taya Beller and Allie Petry battled in the first set to a 21-18 win, before finding their groove in the second set, 21-10, to win the game. The second pairing of Kelsie Cada and Jordan McCormick had no problems with their matchup, winning 21-5, 21-4 in two sets. Isabelle Vacek and Ally Beresford in the third pairing also had a two-set sweep, 21-14, 21-13.  

The fourth pairing, Brooke Peltz and Rachel Walker, cruised in set one, 21-9, before the Braves pair forced extra points in set two. The Wildcat duo was able to win the set 22-20, earning a two-set win. The fifth pairing in Maggie Brahmer and Havyn Heinz ended up going to a decisive third set, a set that the Wildcat won 15-11 to get the three-set victory, 20-22, 21-16, 15-11. A sixth pairing of Taylor Bunjer and Grace Baumert played in exhibition competition, winning their matchup 21-13, 21-18. 

The second matchup saw every Wildcat pairing winning in two set victories. Not a single set even went into extra points. The top pairing consisted of McCormick and Cada, as they won 21-15, 21-13. The second pairing of Beller and Petry finished with a 21-8, 21-13 victory. The third pairing of Vacek and Beresford came away with a 21-15, 21-17 win.
The fourth pairing in peltz and Walker cruised to a 21-8, 21-5 win. And rounding out the second match, the fifth pairing of Heinz and Brahmer won 21-10, 21-10. In exhibition play once again, Bunjer and Baumert won 21-17, 21-12. In total, the Wildcats only lost one set out of 25 played and swept the Braves in matches won.  

The Wildcats will close out the beach volleyball season at the American Volleyball Coaches Association Small College Beach Nationals in Tavares, Florida at Hickory Points Beach. The tournament will take place from Friday, April 14 through Sunday, April 16.  

“When in Florida our expectations are to just work hard, compete with teams, and have fun,” Brahmer said. “I feel like a lot of the teams we don’t normally see sometimes overlook us because we are from the Midwest and don’t play beach year-round like they do. As long as we work hard, we can give them a run for their money.” 

Last year, the Wildcats finished with a record of 3-3 in Tavares and won the AVCA Bronze Division Playoff at Beach Nationals.