SMSU VOLLEYBALL: Mustangs outlast Augustana
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State’s offense relied heavily on its two outside hitters, Kaylee Burmeister and Taylor Reiss, who combined for 44 combined kills in a tight, 3-2 win to improve on the best start in school history at Augustana on Thursday night in the Elmen Center.
The Mustangs (8-0) looked as if they would cruise to a ninth straight win after jumping out to a 2-0 lead with wins of 25-21 and 25-23 in the first and second sets respectively. The Vikings (8-2), winners of seven consecutive matches entering the night, came right back with a 25-20 win in the third and a 25-17 win in the fourth forcing a fifth set for a third straight match between the two teams.
The Mustangs defeated Augustana in the last match between the two schools (21-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-17, 15-9) back in the 2016 Central Region Semifinal, in St. Paul, Minn., last December.
Reiss, last week’s Sports Imports/ AVCA National Player of the Week, had 23 kills and 21 digs on the night while Burmeister just missed also having a 20-20 night, finishing with 21 kills and 19 digs. Megan Larson finished the night with 58 assists and 19 digs.
Erin Corrigan had 15 digs and Payton Hjerleid finished with 16 digs on the back row for SMSU as they helped the Mustangs hold Augustana to a .120 attack percentage in the match-clinching fifth set.
Brooke Borchardt and Sarina Smith each had three total blocks and added another 10 and seven kills respectively.
The Mustangs had 17 kills in the first and second sets while holding Augustana to just a .141 attack percentage through two sets.
Augustana led 20-16 in the first set when Burmeister had five straight kills for SMSU to tie the match at 21-21. Burmeister would later add a block assist and another kill to help the Mustangs win the final six points of the set on the way to 25-21 win.
It was Augustana who was forced to come from behind in the second as SMSU led 23-16 when four SMSU attack errors and an ace for the Vikings brought the set to 23-22. Augustana would concede the second set on a service error and another Kaylee Burmeister kill but the Vikings avoided the sweep 25-20 win in the third set.
Augustana jumped out to a fast start in the fourth and forced a fifth set with a 6-2 run to end the set on the way to a 25-17 win that brought the match to 2-2.
The Mustangs would get off to the fast start in the fifth, racing to a 5-0 lead that would force an Augustana timeout. The Vikings would get within two points but SMSU’s offense came back to life as Taylor Reiss and Megan Larson combined for three of the final five points to help the Mustangs escape the match with a 15-9 win in the final set.
“We’re just excited to not go on the road for one match,” SMSU coach Terry Culhane said. “It’s always fun to play at home, and I think our kids are excited play in front of our home fans.
SMSU will return to Marshall where they will play No. 17 Wayne State (6-3) in its home opener on Saturday at 2 p.m., in the P.E. Gym.
of SMSU Athletic