No. 4 Southwest Minnesota State Knocks off Second Ranked Team on the Weekend


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MARSHALL, Minn. - Sara Graf recorded a match-high 58 assists and Laura Hegerle and Kasey Loeslie each had a match-high 14 kills to lead No. 4 Southwest Minnesota State to a 3-1 (25-18, 19-25, 25-21, 25-18) conference victory over No. 23 Wayne State (Neb.) Saturday afternoon in Marshall.  For the Mustangs, it was the second top-25 team that they defeated over the weekend after sweeping No. 20 Augustana on Friday.

The Mustangs improve to 23-3 (12-2, NSIC), while the Wildcats drop to 20-5 (9-4, NSIC).

Hegerle and Loeslie's performance was accompanied  by the  supporting cast of Devin Diedrich and Tory Brouwer, who finished with 13 and 12 kills, respectively.  The ensemble lead a hard-hitting offensive attack by SMSU.

It was a milestone night for Graf.  Not only did she surpass the 1,000-assist mark for the season, she also moved into the No. 3 spot at SMSU in career assists, surpassing Jill Dauenhauer's 3,179 career assists.  The junior setter now has 3,181 assists in her tenure as a Mustang.

Sarah Quiram kept the Mustang defense in check, digging up 25 balls on the afternoon.

Putting together a suffocating blocking performance in the opening set, SMSU surged to an eight point lead that WSC was unable to respond to.  Fittingly, The knock-out punch came from SMSU's one-two hitting punch as a pair of kills by Loeslie and Hegerle finished the set.

But after falling behind by five midway through the second set, the Mustangs were unable close the gap.  A .484 hitting performance by the Wildcats keyed their run to the set victory.

Behind the serving of Graf, SMSU opened the third set on a 8-0 run.  That lead, however, gave way late in the set.  But the Mustangs rattled off four unanswered points in the closing points and a Hegerle kill at 24-21 was the clincher.

The momentum continued to be in SMSU's favor, and the Mustangs finished the fourth and final set on an 8-1 run to take the match.

Brittany Van Beek's 16 kills and Diedra Artz's 27 assists led WSC.

SMSU is on the road for a Halloween weekend double header next week, taking on No. 18 Minnesota Duluth on Friday and Bemidji State on Saturday.

Article courtesy of Southwest Minnesota State athletics.

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