MARSHALL- It was fun and games in the crowd, but it was all business on the court for the Southwest Minnesota State University Volleyball team. The team’s annual first scrimmage, also known as the Late Show, gives the players a chance to play in front of a crowd, gives new students the opportunity to see the team in action and gives the coaching staff to see where the team needs some work.

Players knew that Thursday night was about business. Outside Hitter Kenzie Beekman was glad to get out on the court “It was a lot of fun to come out and compete because we haven’t had the chance to be in a game situation,” she said after the game. Beekman did get the winning point for the first match on a kill. The Marshall High School graduate and SMSU freshman said the pace was much faster than the high school game and mentioned that the team needed to work out some of the kinks on defense.

Coach Terry Culhane noticed a few things his team needed to work on as well before their first match next week. “We need to be a better defensive team than we were tonight,” he said after the two-set scrimmage. “I think you could tell the experienced setter versus the young setter,” he added. Culhane emphasized that it was still early for him to jump to conclusions with this team. He also was glad no one got injured during the match.

Culhane also thought playing in front of a crowd was beneficial for his team. The students in the stands were cheering like it was a real game. Songs by the rapper Macklemore blared over the loudspeakers and enthusiastic SMSU orientation leaders tried to get the wave going in the crowd. “It’s a good experience for all our kids, especially some of our younger kids who get wound up about it,” he said.

The Mustangs open up their season on the road in St. Paul against Wheeling Jesuit (West Virginia) on Friday, Sept. 5 as part of the Concordia-St. Paul Tournament. Their first home match is against the University of Sioux Falls on Sept. 16.