Following a difficult Friday that saw the Wildcats go 0-2, North Dakota State College of Science Volleyball bounced back with a pair of huge wins over nationally-ranked opponents, upsetting No. 4 Kirkwood (Iowa) before knocking off tournament host No. 11 Northeast (Neb.) Saturday in Norfolk, Neb.
NDSCS was dominant against Kirkwood, winning in four sets (25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20). All-American sophomore Gabby Hahn led the offense with 19 kills and a stellar .386 kill percentage. Classmate Lexi Hansch dished out 28 assists and freshman Annika Frost added 10. Freshman Katie Krieger totaled 25 digs, with Hahn and freshman Miah Gessell adding 14 and 13 respectively.
The Wildcats had just 15 hitting errors as a team against Kirkwood.
In the nightcap, NDSCS held off Northeast in what was the most competitive game of the tournament.
All five sets were decided by four points or less, with two of the five being decided by the slimmest margin of two points.
After dropping the first set 25-23, NDSCS bounced back to win sets two and three 25-21 and 25-22. The Wildcats held a 21-17 lead in the fourth set, but a furious Hawks rally and 25-23 win forced a fifth and decisive set.
NDSCS again found itself behind in the fifth set, trailing 9-7 before the momentum swung on a back-and-forth point that witnessed Wildcats diving over each other on three different occasions to save the point.
From there, Science won eight of the game’s final 11 points to stun the Hawks on their home court in the final game of the NECC Classic.
Hahn again finished with 19 kills, taking to the 500-kill mark for her career at NDSCS. Gessell and sophomore Lily Pyle added 15 kills each. Hansch and Frost were assist leaders with 38 and 15 respectively. Katie Krieger, who currently ranks 11th nationally in digs per set, recorded a career-high 48 digs. Hahn and Gessell added 23 and 17 respectively. Hansch (15) and Frost (12) also had double-digit digs.
Freshmen Ally Gruber and Marisa Garza each added seven blocks.
The Wildcats move to 4-2 on the season. They’ll return to action on Wednesday when they visit region rival Dakota County Technical College. That game will be played in Innergrove Heights, Minn.