Defending volleyball champs sweep Wildcats in three

Third-ranked and defending Div. II national champion Concordia-St. Paul proved their ranking Friday, sweeping the Wildcats in three sets at Rice Auditorium, 25-21, 25-21, 25-10.

After an early 4-1 deficit, the Wildcats rallied and took a 7-5 lead in the first set. They would hold that lead long into it, extending their advantage as much as 18-15. Five straight points from the Golden Bears shifted the edge in favor of Concordia-St. Paul, but the Wildcats clawed a lead back to 21-20 from the service of Haley Kauth. The momentum wouldn’t be enough, as the Golden Bears’ 5-1 spurt was enough to take the first set.

Concordia got out to an early lead in the second set, sustaining a lead that increased to as much as 15-9. A 9-2 run behind seven errors from the Golden Bears as well as an Alyssa Ballenger kill and ace gave the Wildcats life, but Concordia-St. Paul regained the lead after a 4-0 run and took a 2-0 lead into intermission.

The third set was all Golden Bears, as the visitors got out to a 14-3 lead and hit .438 in the final set to finish off the three-game sweep.

Katie Stephens led Wayne State with nine kills, while Jaci Brahmer ended with five kills and Ballenger had four. Megan Gebhardt and Brahmer shared a game-high four blocks, while Gebhardt provided 24 assists. Ballenger finished as the only Wildcat with double-digit digs at 10.

Wayne State (9-3, 2-2 NSIC) will try to avenge their loss Saturday in a 1 p.m. NSIC contest against Minnesota State at Rice Auditorium.

The Wayne Herald

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