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Mustangs volleyball, a tradition of excellence



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To be one of the best teams you have to mold your players from the start.

"We've been a good program for a number of years so we've had to count on freshman to play," said Terry Culhane, head coach of the SMSU Mustangs.

The Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs volleyball team knows this first hand with an ongoing tradition of excellence.
 
"People get it right away and we bring in people who understand what we're trying to do too so that helps a lot as well," said Devin Diedrich.

"We hold a high expectation for everybody and we expect a lot," said Mary Groth.

Making it to the NCAA tournement for the past eight straight seasons and looking for the ninth, the Mustangs fell just short last season losing in the region finals.

"I think that was a learning experience for all of us. We know what it's like to be there and we know what it's like to lose and now we know what it's going to take to get to that top spot," said Brooke Burmeister.

But to get back will be a tough road, which starts within the conference.

"You can't walk into a gym thinking you're going to beat anyone in our conference," said Diedrich.

"Everyone has a chance to beat you and we have a chance to beat everyone else. So I mean, it's just whoever shows up and plays and gets after it," said Groth.

"Our longer term goal is to qualify for regional play, but our region is unbelievably difficult and we don't want to get too far ahead of what's going on," said Culhane.

Either way that molding that has stuck with those who are seniors now call this program a great success.

"I think we've done a really good job being strong and sticking with our team bond and just doing a really good job at progressing, really, in a successful way," said Diedrich.

A legacy and a tradition they'll leave behind for incoming freshman to pick up where they left off.>
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