The sixth-ranked Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs improved to 17-5 this season after defeating Minnesota-Crookston in four sets Saturday afternoon.

The Mustangs claimed the first two sets of the match with scores of 25-19 and 25-14.

SMSU combined to hit .155 (49-27-142). Abbey Thissen led with a team high 13 kills and 28 attacks, while Claire Sames tallied 10 in the winning effort.

The Mustangs used a 6-0 run in Set 1 sparked by two Whitney Burmeister serving aces to take a 9-3 lead. The Mustangs would see their lead grow to 19-10 as Sarah Parker connected on one of her three kills. SMSU fended off the pesky Golden Eagles’ late rally with a Sames kill to take the set 25-19.

SMSU jumped out to an early 4-0 lead to start the second set. With the score 11-8, the Mustangs went on a 6-0 run capped off by a kill by Sames. SMSU used a 4-0 run to close the set and win by a score of 25-14.

The Golden Eagles answered in the third set, taking advantage of the Mustangs’ inability to keep their momentum.

In Set 3, the Mustangs struggled to pass well and UMC and Brittany Looker took advantage. Down 9-8, the Golden Eagles reeled off six consecutive points to take a 15-9 lead. The rally stole the momentum and allowed the Golden Eagles to roll to a 25-18 set victory to push the match score to 2-1.

The Mustangs and Golden Eagles battled it out in the fourth set, trading off the lead. The set remained even until a 14-point stalemate. SMSU pulled away with a four point streak, using that lead to take the match.

The Mustangs have two matches next weekend when they travel to play at St. Cloud State on Friday and at fourth-ranked Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday.