Snapping their six-match win streak, University of Sioux Falls Volleyball opened the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schedule with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-17) loss to No. 2 Wayne State. The Cougars fall to 6-3 on the season with a 0-1 mark in NSIC play, while the Wildcats remain undefeated at 9-0, 1-0 in the NSIC.

The two teams entered the conference opener ranked first and second in blocks per set among league teams, but it was Wayne State’s net presence that troubled the Cougars all night. USF was held to a .125 attack percentage, their lowest of the season, with Wayne State totaling 15 blocks on the night.

USF’s back row duo of libero Abby Folk and defensive specialist Janelle Lam were solid for the Cougars, picking up 14 and 10 digs, respectively. The Cougars’ middle blockers Lexi Scott and Jordan Calef became the focal point of the offense as the match wore on and they finished with a combined 19 kills and just three errors.

The first set was all Wayne State as USF was forced into nine errors, all coming on WSC blocks. The Cougars kept pace early with the second-ranked team and 2015 national semifinalist Wayne State, but a mid-set run gave the Wildcats a comfortable cushion. USF managed just 11 kills while WSC was error free with 13 kills in their 25-13 set win.

USF fell behind early in the second set, but responded to threaten in the second set, using a large student crowd to fuel late-set momentum. The Cougars trailed by nine points before Scott and Aubrey Milne each hit a pair of kills to trim their deficit to four points, 21-17. Scott added two more kills, but the WSC was too large for a comeback as the Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-20 win.

Sioux Falls came out of the intermission by winning five of the first six points, looking to force a fourth set. The Cougars broke a tie with a Bria Barfnecht kill, but five straight WSC points turned the set in their favor. Barfnecht and Calef connected on two kills to cut the Wayne State lead to one point, but the Wildcats answered with another 5-0 run, providing the cushion for a 25-17, match-sealing win.

The Cougars close out their first weekend of conference competition with a match on Saturday, Sept. 17 at cross-town rival and 20th-ranked Augustana.