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SMSU VOLLEYBALL: Mustangs suffer first conference loss to Winona State on Saturday

Photo by Sam Thiel SMSU’s Meg Schmidt tips the ball over the net during their match against Winona State University on Saturday. The Mustangs fell to the Warriors 3-0.

MARSHALL — The No. 8 Southwest Minnesota State volleyball team (11-3, 5-1 NSIC) suffered its first conference loss of the season as the Winona State Warriors (12-2, 4-2 NSIC) used a .321 hitting percentage led by Megan Flom with 18 kills, to sweep the Mustangs (25-21, 25-20, 25-23) on Saturday afternoon in the PE Gym.

SMSU coach Terry Culhane credited WSU for coming out ready to go and taking control early on in nearly all aspects of the game.

“I think they just played all aspects of the game better than we did. For most of the first set, it was just whoever could control the ball and get a swing scored, I didn’t think there was a lot of defense played on either side. We didn’t have a block in the first set but I think they started defending and made it harder for us to score,” Culhane said. “I just didn’t think we did much of anything really well. Mindset is a big thing and we talked about how the best teams have the ability to play on a Friday and Saturday and can come back and be mentally ready to play. I think they deserved the win, they served tougher than we did, they defended harder than we did and hit much better than we did. Those are usually not all the things you want to lose, but that’s a part of us figuring out who we are as a team.”

The Mustangs totaled 43 team kills with a .223 percentage, while the Warriors tallied 46 kills in the victory.

Angela Young led SMSU with 13 kills and eight digs while Meg Schmidt added 10. Rachel Fink led the defense with 10 digs.

The Warriors created a late-push in set one as the Mustangs held a 20-17 lead. With WSU’s Madison Larson at the line, the Warriors went for a 23-20 advantage to take the set one victory.

WSU was able to hold on the lead despite the Mustangs rally late in the second set. Young had three consecutive kills for the Mustangs to begin to create momentum but the Warriors held the Mustangs at bay with a 25-20 set victory.

SMSU came out in the third set to change the momentum and take the lead at 20-15 for a late rally. The Mustangs hit a match-high .312 in set three before WSU was able to come back with a late five-point run as Flom dealt two kills late for the 25-23 match victory.

Winona State was mentioned as RV in the latest AVCA Top-25 poll, the ninth NSIC competitor to be mentioned in the poll.

SMSU (11-3, 5-1 NSIC) travels to Concordia-St. Paul on Friday, Oct. 11 at 6:05 p.m. The match was selected as part of the NCAA’s hybrid model of the Division II Showcase. The NCAA produced match will be available for fans to watch on a variety of media platforms including the NSIC Network, Division II Twitter and Division II Facebook pages.

— Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic

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