The Minnesota State volleyball team (11-8, 6-5 NSIC) is setting their eyes on a tough weekend ahead of them, taking on No. 14 Southwest Minnesota State (15-4, 7-4 NSIC) and Sioux Falls (12-7, 7-4 NSIC).
This weekend will be the Mavericks first weekend on the road since the beginning of October, when Minnesota State got swept by Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud.
The Mavericks have historically not been so good against the Mustangs, holding a record of 13-24 since 1994.
Over the last 20 meetings, the Mavericks are just 4-16, although Minnesota State did win last time the two teams went face-to-face in a 3-0 sweep at the Taylor Center.
Southwest Minnesota State has a phenomenal defense, leading them to the top 15 in the rankings. The Mustangs lead the NSIC in opponent hitting percentage, opponent assists, and opponent kills.
The Mustangs also rank third in the NSIC in blocks with 2.32 per set, just one spot ahead of the Mavericks, who average 2.26 blocks per set.
Minnesota State needs to be wary of the Mustang’s services, rostering Rachel Fink and Meg Schmidt who are first and second in the NSIC in service aces with 31 and 30 total aces, respectively.
Angela Young is another face to watch out for on the court, ranking fourth in the NSIC in points, averaging 4.52 per set.
Despite having a fantastic 11-0 start to their season, The Mustangs have gone just 7-4 in conference play, bringing them to just sixth in the conference standings.
SMSU is coming off a weekend where they had both contests go to five games, and dropped both of them against Winona State University and Upper Iowa University.
With the Mustangs dropping five of their last six contests, the Mavericks are sitting with pretty good odds to pull off an upset.
Then, Saturday the Mavericks will travel to Sioux Falls to take on the Cougars, a team who sits just one spot above the Mavericks in the NSIC standings.
The two teams have a short history with each other, with the Mavericks having a 6-5 record since 2012.
The last time the teams met was in Mankato in 2019, when the Mavericks swept the Cougars in a seemingly close NSIC battle, 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-23).
The Mavericks are hitting their stride lately, going 3-1 in their last two weekends.
Maiah Edgington leads the Mavericks in kills with a whopping 189, while Jessica Nelson is behind her with 138.
Senior libero Mara Quam leads the Mavericks in digs by a huge margin with 321, good enough for fifth in the NSIC and broke the school record last weekend for all-time career digs.