SMSU volleyball rising above lofty expectations - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

SMSU volleyball rising above lofty expectations

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Currently ranked No.2 in the AVCA Division II volleyball poll. The Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs, are off to yet another great start in 2012.

"We are off to a great start this season, one of the best in team history," senior outside hitter Devin Diedrich said. "It's a great testament to what we are doing on the court."

At 16-1 overall and 8-1 in the Northern Sun Conference, the stangs have been nearly unstoppable on the court. Thanks in part, to a trio of seniors above the net, in AVCA All- American's Mary Groth & Brooke Burmeister and emerging talent Devin Diedrich. All three ranking in the top six in all-time kills.

"We have three tremendous seniors on this team and a veteran labero in Rachel Westby," ninth-year coach Terry Culhane said. "They are great leaders and really have set the tone for what we are doing."

Winning has been a familar theme in Marshall, Minn. for some time. SMSU has gone 86-consecutive weeks ranked in the AVCA Top 25 Poll. While that's impressive, it's not golden, which is what conference rival Concorida-St. Paul has been.

The Golden Bears are coming off their sixth straight national title, which included a Regional Finals win over the Mustangs and have dealt them their only loss this season.

"It was good to play a team like that," Diedrich said. "We needed to see what it's like to match up with a quality opponent who would push us, we learned a lot."

Most of the lessons though, come from the bench, where ninth-year Coach Terry Culhane has been a big part of the success. With over 200 victories, he is among the winningest active coaches in Division II volleyball.

"These girls are the ones who are playing, our success comes from what they are doing," Culhane said. " I just try and help them reach their potential."

It looks like this year could be his finest squad yet. In Marshall, Dylan Scott KSFY Sports.


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