After a rough start to its match against No. 20 BYU-Hawaii on Saturday, the sixth-ranked Southwest Minnesota State volleyball team recovered to defeat the Seasiders 18-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-18 during the final day of the Wildwood Lodge Volleyball Classic in St. Paul.
The Mustangs, who finished the season-opening tournament 3-0, saw their offense shut down in the first set, as they were held to a .021 attack percentage while the Seasiders hit at a .343 clip. BYU-Hawaii finished with 22 block assists in the match.
SMSU found its groove in the second set and bounced back to hit at a .227 clip in the tight 25-23 win.
The Mustangs led by as many as seven points in the third set after back-to-back kills by Abbey Thissen and Devin Diedrich made the score 15-8. The Seasiders rallied to take a 22-21 lead before SMSU finished things off with four straight points. SMSU's Brooke Burmeister had back-to-back kills to close the set.
The fourth set saw the Mustangs jump out to a quick 10-4 lead after a kill by Mary Groth. The Seasiders closed to within a point on a few different occasions, but the Mustangs never relinquished their lead and won 25-18.
The Mustangs used a well-balanced attack to defeat BYU-Hawaii, with four players reaching double figures in kills. Burmeister led the way with 16, followed by Groth (13), Diedrich (11) and Thissen (11). Emilee Gutzmer had 49 set assists in the match.
SMSU was led defensively by libero Rachel Westby, who had a career-high 23 digs.
Shih Ting Chen led the Seasiders with 19 kills, and Jacqueline Swarbrick had eight block assists.
Before beginning Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, the Mustangs will take part in the Missouri S&T Tournament in Rolla, Mo., Friday and Saturday. Their first match will be against Southern Indiana (0-4 overall) at noon on Friday.
SMSU18 25 25 25
BYU-Hawaii25 23 22 18
Ace Serves: BYU-H-Ying Chun Chen 3, Shih Ting Chen 2; SMSU-Rachel Westby, Christa Wolf, Emilee Gutzmer.
Kills: BYU-H-Shih Ting Chen 19, Lauren Hagemeyer 14; SMSU-Brooke Burmeister 16, Mary Groth 13, Abby Thissen 11, Devin Diedrich 11, McKell Anderson 6.
Digs: BYU-H-Danielle Quigley 19, Ying Chun Chen 15, Shih Ting Chen 13, Michelle Tevaga 12, Hagemeyer 12; SMSU-
Westby 23, Gutzmer 14, Burmeister 12, Wolf 9, Kelsey Hennen 9.
Set Assists: BYU-H-Ying Chun Chen 42; SMSU-Gutzmer 49.
Blocks (solo-assists): Ying Chun Chen 1-1, Jacqueline Swarbrick 0-8, Hagemeyer 0-6; SMSU-Groth 0-5; Diedrich 1-1, Burmeister 0-2, Thissen 0-2.