Nov. 19, 2010

Courtesy of Southwest Minnesota State Athletics

MARSHALL, Minn. - Fourth ranked and No. 1 seed in the Central Region Tournament Southwest Minnesota State advances to the semifinals for the first time since 2008. SMSU defeated the No. 8 seed Colorado School of Mines in five sets by scores of 21-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-12 and 15-9. The Mustangs improve to 27-3 on the season while Mines falls to 19-10 overall.

Devin Diedrich led all players notching a career-high 29 kills in the thriller at the PE Gym. The Mustangs found themselves in a hole against the Orediggers falling behind 2-1. Southwest Minnesota State improved to 6-1 in five-set matches this season.

SMSU and CSM matched one another point-for-point early on the first set. With the set tied 15-15, CSM would gain the lead and not lose it for the remainder of the set earning a 25-21 first set win. Diedrich earned five of her 29 kills in the first set. The Mines hitters hit .462 percent in the first set on their way to a win on SMSU's home court. SMSU would turn those numbers around and outhit CSM for the match finishing with a team attack percentage of .301 while Mines hit .255 percent. Diedrich led SMSU with a .421 attack percentage.

The Mustangs big-three hitters gave the Orediggers fits all night. CSM would earn seven team blocks but could not find an answer for the trio of SMSU hitters. Behind Diedrich's career-high 29 kills, Mary Groth pitched in 17 kills of her own while Brooke Burmeister followed up with 15.

Cara Carson used the big three often. Carson finished the match with 60 set assists while Burmeister, Diedrich and Groth accounted for 61 of SMSU's 69 kills. SMSU would rebound and win the second set behind a six-point surge led by the serve of Kenzie Niesche. The sophomore libero picked up three service aces tonight as Southwest Minnesota State would serve up a season-high 10 service aces in the match. Seven Mustangs recorded five or more digs as Mines attempted 145 attack attempts. Brittany Wenzel and Rachel Westby led the back row for SMSU picking up 13 digs each. Burmeister and libero Niesche both finished with nine digs each. The Mustangs would go on a tear in the final set of the match tonight committing no errors and hitting .600 as a team in the fifth. SMSU has proven to be tough in five, winning six out of seven games that have played five sets. Diedrich who sparked the Mustangs comeback would put an end to the match with her career-high 29th kill of the night.

Southwest Minnesota State will play No. 10, fourth seeded Nebraska-Kearney tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. at the PE Gym following the other semifinal match-up between No. 1 #2 seed Concordia University, St. Paul and No. 13, six seed Metro State. First serve for that match is 5:00 p.m.