Wildcat volleyballers go unbeaten in season-opening tourney

The Wayne State volleyball team had no problems running the table at the Missouri Southern Tournament over the weekend in Joplin, Mo., easily defeating all four opponents to start the season 4-0.

On Friday, the Wildcats opened the season with a straight-set victory over Cameron (Okla.), 26-24, 25-10, 25-11.

Freshman Kelsie Cada and junior Maddie Knobbe combined for 25 kills with a .466 attack percentage to power the Wildcats in the victory.

The first set was close with Wayne State leading the entire match until Cameron scored three straight points to take their lone lead of the set at 22-21. Wayne State countered with a Tarrin Beller kill and a service ace from redshirt freshman setter Rachel Walker to take the lead for good. Cada recorded six kills in the opening set followed by Beller with five to pace the Wildcat attack.
In the second set, the Wildcats used an efficient attack posting a .464 percentage with 15 kills and just two attack errors. Junior Jaci Brahmer accounted for five kills while senior libero Haley Kauth notched two service aces with six digs for the Wildcats.

Wayne State’s defense took over in the third set as the ‘Cats forced nine attack errors on Cameron for a -.107 attack percentage to go with two blocks and Wayne State completed the sweep. Cada and Knobbe were each credited with four kills in the set.

Cada and Knobbe reached double figures in kills to lead WSC with 13 and 12, respectively. Kauth topped the ‘Cats with 11 digs followed by defensive specialist Hope Carter with 10. Kauth had three of Wayne State’s eight service aces while Beller and Knobbe each had three blocks.

In the second game of the day Friday, Carter recorded seven service aces and a team-high 16 digs to lead the Wildcats in a 25-12, 25-11 and 25-13 sweep of Southwestern Oklahoma State.

Wayne State never trailed in the match. Carter established her serving prowess in the opening set, recording three straight service aces to put the ‘Cats in front 5-0. The ‘Cats finished with six service aces in the set and used five kills from senior outside hitter Katie Stephens to post the easy win.

The second set saw the ‘Cats force eight attack errors on SWOSU and had three blocks. Carter added another three aces in the set to go with six digs while Tarrin Beller produced a team-high five kills.

The Wildcats completed the sweep in the third with a convincing effort, hitting .395 as a team with 17 kills and just two attack errors. Cada had five kills and five digs while Carter added one more service ace in the third set to go with seven digs to cap her stellar outing.

Carter led Wayne State in the match with seven service aces, tied for the second most in a single match by a Wildcat player in school history. She also notched a team-high 16 digs.

Beller and Cada each had nine kills to lead a balanced hitting attack, followed by Maddie Knobbe and Stephens with seven kills apiece. Cada also had 11 digs with Kauth adding 10 while redshirt freshman setter Rachel Walker handed out 37 set assists.

On Saturday, Wayne State forced 20 attack errors with seven blocks, holding Black Hills State to a .037 attack percentage, as the Wildcats cruised to a 25-16, 25-16, 25-17 win.

The ‘Cats trailed just once in the first set at 5-4, then used serving streaks from Morgan Alexander and Cada to take a 12-6 lead. The Wildcats cruised the rest of the set, forcing eight Black Hills State attack errors while Jaci Brahmer connected on five first set kills for WSC.

The second set saw WSC take an early 6-1 lead, but the Yellow Jackets rally for their lone lead of the set at 12-11. The ‘Cats then used three straight points served by Walker and five in a row from Carter that included an ace as WSC took control of the set.

Wayne State jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead in the third set and never let BHSU get closer than three points as the ‘Cats completed the sweep. Six different Wildcats had kills in the set, paced by Beller and Knobbe with three apiece.

Senior Tarrin Beller led a balanced Wildcat attack with nine kills followed by Jaci Brahmer with eight. Junior Maddie Duffy recorded a team-best 16 digs and also had three service aces with Beller adding two. Brahmer paced the Wildcats at the net with four blocks while Beller and Kelsie Cada each had three. Walker notched 33 set assists.

Wayne State fell one set short of perfection in their Saturday finale, but bounced back from a third-set loss to cruise past CSU-Pueblo, 25-16, 25-12, 23-25, 25-19.

Wayne State recorded a match-high 19 kills in the first set, with seven coming from Beller. Brahmer led a balanced Wildcat attack in the second set, notching five kills in six attempts, as the Wildcats took a two-set advantage.

CSU Pueblo gave Wayne State its first set loss of the season to keep the match alive momentarily, but the Wildcats stormed back in the fourth set and forced 12 attack errors on the Thunderwolves that included five blocks to finish off the four-set win.

Beller paced Wayne State in the win with her match-high 17 kills, hitting a sizzling .630 with no attack errors. Brahmer also hit double digits in kills with 13 while freshman Cada notched a double-double with 11 kills and 16 digs.

Carter was credited with 12 digs and two service aces while Duffy recorded 11 digs and two service aces. Walker had 46 set assists and three blocks.

Wayne State returns to action on Friday and Saturday at the Nova Southeastern Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Wayne Herald

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