DULUTH, Minn. -- For the 10th consecutive season Southwest Minnesota State found itself in the NCAA tournament and for the fourth consecutive season the Mustangs earned a first round victory. This season it was Washburn who fell victim to the Mustangs, who prevailed in the five-set thriller by set scores of 25-27, 25-18, 25-27, 25-15, 15-11). SMSU advances to the NCAA second round to face No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth.
SMSU was down 2-1 after four sets, but came back to force a fifth set for just the second time this season. SMSU was 2-2 in five set matches coming in but managed its third five set victory of the season. SMSU is now 8-10 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
Four Mustangs had big nights as Abbey Thissen led the charge as she racked up 18 kills, while McKell Anderson (16), Whitney Burmeister (15), and Claire Sames (14) were not far behind. Senior libero Rachel Westby was automatic in the back row as she tallied a career-high 39 digs in the match -- breaking her previous high of 32.