Mestl’s 20 kills lead No. 8 Wildcats to Senior Day win over No. 20 Northern


Senior Michaela Mestl recorded 20 kills and 16 digs for her 13th double-double of the season on Senior Day to lead No. 8 Wayne State in a 25-23, 25-17, 23-25, 25-23 win over 20th-ranked Northern State Saturday afternoon at Rice Auditorium in Wayne.

Wayne State started slow, trailing 9-3 in the first set before catching fire. Trailing 19-13, Wayne State rallied and took their first lead of the set at 24-23 on a block by Alyssa Frauendorfer and Erin Gross. The Wildcats then used a Mestl kill to finish off the opening-set win.

The Wildcats led from start to finish in the second set, posting 16 kills with just one error and a .429 attack percentage, and led most of the third set until a late Northern State rally gave the Wolves a 25-23 win to force a fourth set.

Wayne State led the majority of the fourth set, but held off a late Wolves surge for the win as the Wildcats forced seven attack errors on the Wolves. With the score tied at 23-23, Wayne State used a Tarrin Beller kill and a block from Beller and Frauendorfer to close out the match.

The Wildcats hit .293 in the match with 59 kills, 11 errors and 164 attacks while Northern State hit .212 with 59 kills, 24 errors and 165 attempts. Northern held an 84-68 advantage in digs while Wayne State won the block battle at the net 12-3. Northern State had one more service ace than Wayne State with eight aces to the Wildcats’ seven.

Mestl led Wayne State with her 20 kills and 16 digs followed by Gross with 15 kills and Frauendorfer 13. Libero Haley Kauth had 22 digs with setter Megan Gebhardt adding 13 digs with 47 set assists for her sixth double-double. Frauendorfer paced Wayne State in blocks with seven while Gross and Alex Opperman had five apiece.

Wayne State (23-6, 14-6 NSIC) is the sixth seed for the Northern Sun Conference tournament and will play at third-seeded Minnesota Duluth on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Other first-round matchups include top-seeded Concordia-St. Paul hosting Minnesota State, No. 2 seed Southwest Minnesota State hosting seventh-seeded Sioux Falls, and fourth-seeded Augustana hosting fifth-seeded Winona State. Semifinals and finals will be held at the site of the highest remaining seed next weekend.