Erin Gross posted a career-high 21 kills to help eighth-ranked Wayne State College rally for a 23-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 15-9 win over MSU Moorhead Friday at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. The host Wildcats improve to 22-6 on the season and 13-6 in the NSIC while the visiting Dragons drop to 10-17 and 5-14 in league play.
The Wildcats held a 20-16 lead in the first set, but MSU Moorhead came storming back and broke a 21-21 tie and used that momentum to take the first set. The Wildcats came back in the second set, jumping out to a 9-3 advantage in the second set and cruising to the second-set win to tie the match.
The vistiors produced 17 kills in the third set and took a 2-1 lead in the match, but the Wildcats came back again and notched a match-high 18 kills in the fourth set to force the winner-take-all fifth set.
Wayne State trailed early in the fifth set at 5-4, but used three kills from Michaela Mestl and two by Alex Opperman to take 9-6 lead and force a Moorhead timeout. The Wildcats never gave the Dragons a chance to get back into the fifth set, as Mestl and Haley Kauth posted service aces followed by a kill from Alyssa Frauendorfer to end the match and give Wayne State the 3-2 match victory.
Wayne State hit .241 in the match with 71 kills, 23 errors and 199 attacks while MSU Moorhead posted a better .263 attack percentage with 62 kills, 13 attack errors and 186 attacks. The Wildcats held a 102-95 edge in digs and had 13 service aces in the win to just two by the Dragons. MSU Moorhead held a 7-4 advantage in blocks on the Wildcats.
Gross finished with a career-high 21 kills to pace the Wildcats at the net followed by Mestl with 19 kills and 23 digs for her 12th double-double of the year. Frauendorfer finished with 12 kills while Tarrin Beller added 10.
Katie Stephens notched a career-high 22 digs followed by Haley Kauth (19) and Bree Ackermann (18). Setter Megan Gebhardt handed out a career-high 60 set assists and had 12 digs in the win. Kauth recorded five service aces followed by Frauendorfer with three and Mestl and Ackermann with two apiece.
The Wildcats (22-6, 13-6 NSIC) will host 20th-ranked Northern State on Senior Day Saturday starting at 2 p.m.