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Mustangs ousted from NSIC volleyball tournament



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MARSHALL, Minn. - The sixth seeded Wayne State (Neb.) Wildcats are playing for their playoff lives and they played like it in the first round of the 2013 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference / US Bank tournament as WSC dismissed the three-seed Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs in straight sets. SMSU fell by set scores of 15-25, 21-25, and 31-33.

With the loss, SMSU drops to 23-7 overall and is eliminated from the tournament, while WSC advances to the semifinal round and will play two-seed Minnesota Duluth on Saturday.

SMSU won the tournament for the first time in program history last season by defeating Minnesota State, Minnesota Duluth and Concordia-St. Paul in the Gangelhoff Center in St. Paul.

SMSU's season hangs in the balance as the Mustangs were ranked No. 5 in the latest NCAA Central Region rankings, which was released just two hours before the match, and a first round exit in the conference tournament doesn't help things.

WSC came to play as the Wildcats finished the match hitting .317 collectively and were led by Cori Hobb (19-0-43, .442) and Elizabeth Gebhardt (11-1-23, .435), who between the two had just one error on 66 attacks. WSC was stellar on the defensive side as well as they used 24 block assists to force 28 SMSU hitting errors. SMSU finished the match hitting just .163.

SMSU showed signs of life in the third set as an exciting back-to-back jostle broke out but WSC eventually won the war with the final blows coming off an Alyssa Frauendorfer kill and an attack error by McKell Anderson.

The loss was SMSU's first loss to WSC since the 2011 season.

Four Mustangs totaled double-digit kill totals - led by Abbey Thissen's and Anderson's 12, following closely behind were Whitney Burmeister with 11 and Sarah Parker with 10. Emilee Gutzmer had 44 assists, while Rachel Westby finished with a match-high 18 digs.

SMSU will now hope for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament following the conference tournament season.
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