Southwest Minnesota State sweeps Sioux Falls in NSIC matchup

Southwest Minnesota State breezes by Sioux Falls in three sets on the court Saturday afternoon.
Published: Sep. 17, 2023 at 12:18 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The No. 11 Southwest Minnesota State volleyball team (9-1, 2-0 NSIC) continues its hot streak after sweeping the University of Sioux Falls (4-6, 0-2 NSIC) on Saturday afternoon, by set scores of 25-18, 25-23, and 25-20. SMSU is now 2-0 in the NSIC and improves to 9-1 overall. USF drops to 0-2 in the NSIC and 4-6 overall.

Leading the way for the Mustangs offense was Saari Kuehl, with 11 kills on a .364 hitting percentage. Supporting the attack was freshman Leah Jones, tallying seven kills of her own, and putting up a block and five digs.

Brooklyn Kusler contributed to the SMSU win, scoring six kills and three digs. Floating around the court on defense was McKenzie Tolk. Tolk captured 17 digs and set three assists with two service aces in the match. Her defensive counterparts were Alisa Bengen and Natalee Rolbiecki, notching nine and six digs, respectively.

Alisa Bengen paced the SMSU offense with 24 assists, while grabbing herself two solo blocks and one block assist on defense. Other top blockers for SMSU were Emma VanHeel, Karli Arkell, and Kusler, who all recorded two block assists apiece.

Leaders on offense for USF were Sadie Voss with 10 kills on a .350 hitting percentage, and NSIC Player to Watch, Jordan Kuper. Kuper recorded seven kills on 18 attempts, hitting .333 while notching three solo blocks and two block assists. Defensive leaders for the Cougars were Caitlin Kellner and Elise Gillen, tallying 10 and seven digs, respectively. Top blockers for USF were Jordyn Hamm and Courtney Holsteen, with four block assists apiece.

USF took their first set frustrations out on set two early, pushing to a quick 7-2 lead over the Mustangs to start. At one point, SMSU trailed the Cougars by as many as eight points in the set. After being down 19-18, SMSU took advantage of USF errors and a couple Kusler kills, squeaking past the Cougars by a score of 25-23.

SMSU displayed their true power in set three, scoring nine of the first 11 points. The Mustangs never looked back in the set, responding to every point scored by USF, and then some, winning the set 25-20.The Mustangs out-hit the Cougars in the match by nearly 10 percent. SMSU tallied 33 kills, while USF totaled just 28.

No. 11 SMSU hosts No. 3 Wayne State on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m. The Mustangs then travel to Minot, N.D. on Friday, Sept. 29, to face off with Minot State for more conference action at 6 p.m. Following its trip to Minot, SMSU will travel to Bismarck, N.D., where it will play UMary at 2 p.m., on Sept. 30.

Recap courtesy of SMSU Athletics.