Facing a winless team and an unbeaten team Friday at a tournament hosted by Missouri S&T, the third-ranked Southwest Minnesota State volleyball team handled both with ease.
The Mustangs swept winless Southern Indiana 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 to start their day, then took down unbeaten Missouri Western State 25-17, 25-13, 25-19 to improve to 5-0 on the season.
SMSU wraps up the tournament in Rolla, Mo., today with a 9 a.m. match against Emporia State, followed by a meeting against Northwest Missouri State at 1 p.m.
Friday's action saw the Mustangs overpower both of their opponents. Against Southern Indiana, SMSU had a .342 attack percentage in the first set to set the tone. The Mustangs finished strong in the final set by holding their opponent to a -.065 attack percentage.
Even with the sweep, SMSU head coach Terry Culhane thought his team could have had a better performance.
"In the first match against Southern Indiana, we did enough to win,"?Culhane said. "We played well enough to win but we didn't play great by any means. We battled inconsistencies, which we've battled until this point."
Senior Mary Groth had 10 kills in the match, and a trio of SMSU freshman also had strong matches. McKell Anderson led the Mustangs with 11 kills, Abbey Thissen added 10 kills, and Emilee Gutzmer tallied 39 set assists
SMSU got off to an even hotter start against Missouri Western, hitting at a .500 clip in the first set. The Mustangs finished with a .383 attack percentage, while their opponent's percentage was at .138.
"That was the first time that I thought our offense showed signs of clicking and I thought we defended better,"?Culhane said. "We just played all aspects of the game better. We served better, we passed better. That was encouraging to see."
Groth and Devin Diedrich each had 11 kills for SMSU in the victory. Gutzmer added 36 set assists and 13 digs, and Rachel Westby also had 13 digs.
USI19 19 20
SMSU25 25 25
Ace Serves: USI-Lauren DeShaney 1; SMSU-Devin Diedrich 1, Emilee Gutzmer 1, Rachel Westby 1.
Kills: USI-Fawn Ryan 10, DeShaney 10; SMSU-McKell Anderson 11, Mary Groth 10, Abbey Thissen 10.
Digs: USI-Haley Bowden 9, Kayla Heldman 9; SMSU-Westby 8, Brooke Burmeister 8.
Set Assists: USI-Jorae Bradbury 25; SMSU-Gutzmer 39.
Blocks (solo-assists): USI-Abbey Winter 0-5; SMSU-Groth 0-6, Devin Diedrich 2-3, Thissen 0-4.
MWS17 13 19
SMSU25 25 25
Ace Serves: MWS-none; SMSU-Christa Wolf 2.
Kills: MWS-Amanda Boender 10; SMSU-Mary Groth 11, Devin Diedrich 11, Abbey Thissen 8.
Digs: MWS-Jordan Chohon 11; SMSU-Rachel Westby 13, Emilee Gutzmer 13.
Set Assists: MWS-Stephanie Hattey 13, Chohon 12; SMSU-Gutzmer 36.
Blocks (solo-assists): MWS-Boender 0-2; SMSU-Diedrich 1-3, Brooke Burmeister 1-3.