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Fargo, N.D.Merry Gebel and MaKenzie White both finished with 12 kills but it wasn’t enough to lead Western Carolina past North Dakota State as the Catamounts dropped a 3-1 decision on Sunday afternoon inside Bentson Bunker. The Bison won the match by scores of 25-12, 25-19, 22-25 and 27-25.

North Dakota State improves to 2-5 on the season while WCU drops to 5-2.

Gebel finished in double figures in kills for the third straight match and posted six digs. White recorded 12 kills a day after she was credited with 10 kills and had a team-best four block assists. Meagan Sanchez led the Catamounts with 19 digs, followed by Caroline Perret and Hannah Price with 10 each. Price led the team with 18 assists.

McKenzie Burke led the Bison with 24 kills, followed by Alexis Bachmeier with 15 and Allie Mauch with 14. Abbi Klos had 19 digs, closely followed by Kaylee Hanger with 18 and Bachmeier with 17.

North Dakota State dashed out to a 19-3 lead in the opening stanza and closed out the set with a Burke kill.

After an attack error gave the Catamounts a 16-15 lead in the second set, North Dakota State scored six straight points for a 21-16 advantage. An Aleah Keaton kill brought the Catamounts within three, 22-19, before the Bison claimed a 2-0 lead in the match thanks to a pair of kills and a service ace.

Consecutive kills by Gebel and White gave Western Carolina a 16-7 lead in the third set. North Dakota State cut the WCU advantage to one, 23-22, but the Catamounts wrapped up the set with kills by Haley Multerer and White.

Following a Catamount error that gave the Bison a 17-16 edge, Western Carolina reclaimed the lead thanks to a pair of kills by Gebel as well as a kill by Price. WCU had set point, 25-24, but the Bison rallied with three straight points to close out the match.

Western Carolina travels to Gadsden, Ala. next weekend for the Gamecock Classic and will open tournament play on Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET against Bradley before facing Mississippi Valley State at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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