Gross' career-high 19 kills helps No. 9 Wildcats upend No. 8 Augustana


Erin Gross posted a career-high 19 kills to lead ninth-ranked Wayne State College in a 25-22, 12-25, 25-19, 25-21 Northern Sun Conference volleyball win over No. 8 Augustana University Tuesday evening at Rice Auditorium in Wayne.

The first set featured 10 ties and five lead changes between the two clubs. With the score tied at 21-21, Wayne State got kills from Alyssa Frauendorfer and Megan Gebhardt to take a 23-21 lead. After Augustana scored the next point, the Wildcats used kills from Alex Opperman and Erin Gross to take the first set.

Augustana stormed back in the second set, recording 15 kills while holding Wayne State to just four to even the match at 1-1.

The third set was close early until the Wildcats broke away midway through. Leading 12-11, Wayne State scored six straight points, highlighted by back-to-back blocks from Frauendorfer and Gebhardt and a solo block by freshman Tarrin Beller for an 18-11 lead. Augustana did score the next three points to get within four at 18-14, but Wayne State got kills from Beller and Frauendorfer and a solo block by Frauendorfer to regain momentum and take the third set.

The fourth set was a battle similar to the first with 10 ties and five lead changes. Augustana’s last lead came at 11-10, but Wayne State took the lead for good, scoring the next four points to go in front 14-11. The Vikings got as close as one at 20-19, but Wayne State came up with a kill from Gross and a service ace by libero Haley Kauth to go up 22-19 and the Wildcats closed out the set with back-to-back kills from Frauendorfer to earn their first win over a Top 10 team this season.

Wayne State hit .212 for the match compared to Augustana’s .188. The Vikings held a 57-49 edge in kills but Wayne State forced 27 attack errors on Augustana compared to 16 for the Wildcats. Augustana had a 76-68 advantage in digs over the Wildcats but Wayne State had 12 blocks to seven for the Vikings.

Gross recorded a career-high in kills for the second straight game with 19 to lead the Wildcats attack followed by Frauendorfer with 11. Michaela Mestl led the Wildcats in digs with 16 and moved into fifth place on the school's all-time list with 1,685, moving past Renee Fuhr’s 1,683 digs from 1995-98. Kauth added 14 digs followed by Beller with 12, Megan Gebhardt 11 and Bree Ackermann 10. Gebhardt recorded her third double-double of the year with 34 assists and 11 digs while Kauth had two of Wayne State’s three aces. Alex Opperman led a balanced blocking attack with five, followed by Frauendorfer with four.

The Wildcats (16-5, 7-5 NSIC) will be at home again Friday evening hosting top-ranked Minnesota Duluth in a 7 p.m. match at Rice Auditorium.