Hello Mustang fans!
I would like to begin this week's Mustang Hoofprints article by thanking Per Peterson for his article on the Bigler family in Tuesday's newspaper. The Marshall Independent and Per were very respectful and handled the events surrounding that July 28th day, and the days to follow, with great care. I would like to say "thank you" on behalf of the Mustang family for all your support!
This Saturday, the SMSU Department of Athletics is celebrating Faculty, Service Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day at our soccer, volleyball and football games. The success of our student-athletes and our department requires the dedication and support of the entire Mustang family. We will be recognizing our campus community for their support of our student-athletes' academic and athletic success and their overall growth as young adults. Bring the family out to SMSU on Saturday and join us in celebrating Faculty, Service Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day and help cheer on the Mustangs to victory!
For all the information on SMSU Athletics, please go to SMSUmustangs.com.
This Week in Mustang Athletics:
Congratulations to the Southwest Minnesota State volleyball team for being the first team in the school's history to top the national rankings in the Division II or NAIA polls. For the first time in program history, the SMSU volleyball team has earned the No. 1 ranking in the American Volleyball Coaches' Association Top 25 Coaches' Poll. The Mustangs held down the No. 2 spot for three straight weeks.
How many of our faculty, service faculty and staff members at SMSU are proud alums of the university?
The first person to email me at MustangHoofPrints@SMSU.edu with the correct answer to this question will receive an SMSU t-shirt.
Tampa (729 points) is now ranked No. 2, while Washburn (716), Concordia-St. Paul (703) and Nebraska-Kearney (651) round out the top five. Previous No. 1 Nebraska-Kearney fell to the No. 5 ranking with losses to Wayne State and Truman. Other NSIC schools to be ranked in the AVCA Top 25 this week were Minnesota Duluth (sixth), Minnesota State (13th) and Wayne State (18th).
The Mustangs will return to the PE Gym this weekend as they take on the University of Mary Marauders for the second annual "Red Out" on Friday at 7 p.m. The first 500 fans will receive a free "Red Out" t-shirt promoting heart disease awareness. The Mustangs will finish the weekend with a match versus Minot State on Saturday, with the match starting at 3 p.m.
The SMSU soccer team (7-5-1 overall, 5-5-1 NSIC) will be at home again this weekend as the Mustangs will host No. 1 Minnesota State-Mankato on Saturday, with a noon start time. The Mustangs will play host to Concordia-St. Paul on Sunday, with the game beginning at 1 p.m. Both games are extremely important this weekend, as MSU-Mankato is 12-1-1 overall and 11-0 in the NSIC and on top of the conference. Sunday's contest will match up the two teams tied for seventh place in the NSIC, with the top eight teams qualifying for the NSIC tournament.
The SMSU football team (2-5 NSIC, 1-2 NSIC South) returns the Regional Event Center Saturday to face Upper Iowa (2-5 NSIC, 0-3 NSIC South). The kickoff is set for 5 p.m. at Mattke Field. The Mustangs are coming off a heartbreaking loss to MSU-Mankato last weekend, 34-31 in double overtime. SMSU is looking to capture its fifth straight win over the Peacocks.
The Mustang women's golf team finished up its fall season shooting a season-high 371 on Sunday in the second round of the NSIC Fall Championship to finish seventh place in the 13-team championship with a 36-hole total of 736. The event was played at The Classic at Madden's in Brainerd.
The final two rounds of the NSIC Championship will be played next April at the Dacotah Ridge Golf Club in Morton. The Mustangs will break for the winter months and return to action on March 14-15 in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The SMSU women's and men's cross country teams will compete this Saturday at the NSIC Championships in Falcon Heights. The men's 8,000-meter race will begin at 11 a.m. followed by the women's 6,000-meter race at noon.
The SMSU women's team is coming off a sixth-place finish at the seven-team Martin Luther College Invite last Saturday. AnnMarie Dykstra led SMSU with an 18th-place finish, while Diane More finished in 19th place in the 54-runner field. On the men's side, Alex Solheim finished in 10th place out of 68 runners to lead the Mustangs, with Demond Carter recording a 20thplace finish.
Next Wednesday, the SMSU men's basketball team will host an exhibition against Waldorf College in the R/A Facility at 7 p.m.
I would like to wish all of our teams the best of luck this season!
g Congratulations to Ellen Degler, who provided the correct answer to last week's Mustang Hoofprints Question: How many NSIC Conference Championships has the SMSU women's golf team won over its 16-year history? The Mustangs have won six NSIC Championships.