MARSHALL - Abbey Thissen had 14 kills and a .480 hitting percentage, Claire Sames added 10 kills and Emilee Gutzmer had 43 set assists as the Southwest Minnesota State University volleyball team overcame a slow start to snap a two-match skid with a 25-21, 25-17, 25-14 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win over Bemidji State University on Friday night.
In Set 1, the Mustangs found themselves in a quick 7-1 hole before rallying with a big 15-4 run to force a Bemidji State timeout. The two teams went back and forth after SMSU grabbed the 16-11 advantage.
The Mustangs, who entered Friday's contest with an 18-match winning streak against BSU, had a little trouble putting the Beavers away late in the set, as BSU clawed to within four points at 22-18, prompting an SMSU timeout. The Mustangs closed out Game One on Thissen's fifth kill of the set.
Photo by Deb Gau
Southwest Minnesota State’s Whitney Burmeister, left, Bailey Kirchhoff, middle, and Rachel Westby get ready to receive the ball during Friday night’s match against Bemidji State University.
The Mustangs got off on a better foot in the second set. SMSU opened with an 8-4 spurt, but BSU kept it close at 20-16 before another SMSU run closed out the set. SMSU scored eight of the last nine points of Set 2 for the 25-17 win.
The third set saw another strong start for the home team as the Mustangs opened by scoring eight of the first 10 points. SMSU built its lead to 21-8 and withstood a short BSU spurt later in the set to get the sweep.
Rachel Westby and Whitney Burmeister had 13 and eight digs, respectively for the Mustangs, who improved to 16-5 overall and 11-2 in the NSIC with the victory, while BSU dropped to 5-16 (1-12 in the conference).
The Mustangs hit .327 for the match, while BSU registered a .220 hitting percentage.
Four SMSU teams are in action today, but the volleyball team will have the spotlight this afternoon, as it entertains the University of Minnesota-Crookston at 3 p.m. today. The Mustangs are off for the rest of the month after today, then hit the road for NSIC tilts against St. Cloud State on Friday and the University of Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday. SMSU returns home Nov. 8 for a match against Minot State to kick off a three-match homestand.