SMSU VOLLEYBALL: SMSU volleyball opens NSIC play against Augustana and Wayne State

Independent file photo SMSU’s Eisha Oden (7) and Taylor Reiss (1) go up for a block during a Nov. 2016 match against Augustana University.

MARSHALL – The top-ranked Southwest Minnesota State women’s volleyball team (8-0) will open conference play this week as they travel to play at No. 9 Augustana on Thursday at 6 p.m., followed by its home opener against Wayne State on Saturday against No. 17 Wayne State as the Mustangs look to remain unbeaten on the season.

SMSU Quick Hits

– SMSU took over the No. 1 ranking in the country for the first time since 2012 in the latest AVCA top-25 poll.

– Taylor Reiss was recognized this week as the Sports Imports/ AVCA DII National Player of the Week.

– Megan Larson and Taylor Reiss were recognized by the NSIC as Setter of the Week and Offensive Player of the week respectively.

– Larson became the program’s all-time leader in career assists in SMSU’s win over Ferris State last week.

– Reiss became the 14th player in program history to surpass the 1,000 career kills mark in the Mustangs’ win over No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul.

– The Mustangs’ captured their first Colorado Premier Championship in eight trips after defeating No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul last Saturday night.

– SMSU opens NSIC play this week taking on two more ranked opponents in No. 9 Augustana and No. 17 Wayne State.

Augustana Match Preview

Series History

– SMSU is 18-2 in the last 20 matches overall vs. Augustana.

– Augustana has a slight edge in the all-time series, leading 31-30-1.

– The two teams went five sets in both matches last season.

– Augustana defeated SMSU in its home opener, 17-25, 25-19, 19-25, 25-18, 15-11.

– SMSU beat Augustana in the NCAA Central Region Semifinal match, 21-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-17, 15-9.

– The Mustangs own a 9-2 conference record against Augustana since the Vikings joined the NSIC in 2008.

– SMSU is 8-14-1 all-time vs. Augustana in road matches.

Augustana Team Notes

– Overall Record: 8-1

– Home Record: 1-0

– Current Streak: Won 7

– Augustana was forced to change its travel plans in the wake of Hurricane Irma last week; With the cancellation of the Bash at the Beach Volleyball Tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla., Augustana elected to compete in the Lindenwood Challenge in St. Charles, Mo.

– Augustana was swept in its only loss of the season to Regis University at the Oredigger Classic in Golden, Colo.

– Junior outside hitter, Courtney Place, leads the Vikings’ attack with 3.68 kills per set and a .219 hitting percentage.

– Senior middle blocker, Ashley Wilson, has a team high 33.0 total blocks on the year with seven solo blocks.

– Senior setter, Alex Banker, is averaging 10.91 assists/set.

– Senior libero, Tahlyr Banks, leads the team with 4.66 digs/set.

Wayne State Match Preview

Series History

– Wayne State leads the all-time series 26-28-1.

– SMSU won all three matches between the two school last season dropping just one set in the process.

– SMSU swept the regular season matchup, swept WSC in the NSIC Tournament Semifinal, and won 3-1 in the NCAA Central Region Quarterfinal match.

– The Mustangs are 7-5 against Wayne State in the last 12 matches and hold a 16-13 record over the Wildcats in conference matches.

– SMSU is 12-6 all-time in home matches against WSC.

Wayne State Team Notes

– Overall Record: 5-3

– Road Record:1-1

– Current Streak: Lost 3

– Wayne State began the 2017 season with three non-conference tournaments.

– WSC went 3-1 to start the year in the Colorado School of Mines Tournament in Golden, Colo.

– The Wildcats went 2-0 in Pueblo, Colo., at the CSU Pueblo Tournament.

– Wayne State went 0-2 to wrap up non-conference action with losses to Colorado-Colo. Springs and Colo. School of Mines in Colo. Springs at the UCCS Tournament.

– Senior, Erin Gross, leads the Wildcats’ attack with 2.69 kills per set.

– Redshirt freshman, Jaci Brahmer, is averaging a team high 1.44 blocks per set.

– Sophomore libero, Haley Kauth, averages 4.31 digs per set.

– Junior setter, Megan Gebhardt, is currently averaging 9.06 assists per set.

Larson Setting the Bar High

– One weekend after taking over second on the Mustangs all-time career assist leaderboard, Megan Larson, continued to raise her career average (she averaged 13.29 a/set in the Colo. Premier) on the way to becoming the SMSU all-time career assist leader in the win over No. 8 Ferris State.

– Larson had the second most assists (1,517) and assists per set (12.86) for a single season in program history in 2016.

Reiss Attacking the Record Books

– Reiss became the 14th player in program history to surpass the 1,000 career kills milestone in the Mustangs win over No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul.

– Reiss now sits just 96 kills away from moving into the Mustangs’ top-10 in career kills.

– Reiss had 35 kills vs. Lewis (Ill.) last season, breaking the program record for kills in a four-set match.

SMSU Conference Openers

– SMSU has won 3 of its last 4 four conference openers.

– The Mustangs are 8-5 under head coach Terry Culhane in conference openers.

– SMSU lost last season’s conference opener to Augustana in five sets.



– SMSU has gone 10-7 in home openers since 2000.

– The Mustangs have lost the last two home openers after winning the previous five in a row from 2010-14.

– SMSU lost last season’s home opener to Augustana in five sets.

New Mustang Faces

– Freshman middle blocker, Sarina Smith, had 14 kills in the Mustangs win over No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul and now has double digit kills in four matches this season.

– Smith averaged 3.07 kills per set and had 17 total blocks last weekend.

– Freshman libero, Payton Hjerleid, averaged 2.86 digs per set in the Colo. Premier and also added 10 service aces while playing in all 14 sets over the weekend.

Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic