Minneota duo still shining
Back in 2015 Taylor Reiss had a monumental decision to make. She’d committed to South Dakota State University, a Division I School, and she desperately wanted to play volleyball for a Division I School.
But she didn’t feel like she fit into the Jackrabbits mold so she went through the excruciating process of pulling out of her scholarship.
She hooked up with Terry Culhane’s program at Southwest State University in Marshall and in the process joined her former teammate at Minneota, Megan Larson — and ever since the two have been on a terror as they continue to lead the Mustangs as one of the top teams across the nation in Division II.
After going undefeated and sky-rocketing to the top of the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll, they finally lost last weekend and now are ranked No. 2 team in Division II.
Southwest Minnesota State entered the day having not trailed in sets at any point through 16 matches.
But they fell behind 2-0 to No. 13 Northern State and the Wolves came away with a 25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22 win over the top-ranked Mustangs.
The loss snaps what was the second longest win streak in SMSU history and ends the best win streak to start a season in program history. Reiss, a three-time conference MVP and four-time all-conference honoree in volleyball has been named Player of the Week twice this year.
Not to be outdone, Larson also has been named Player of the Week for her work as the Mustangs’ setter twice this season. Larson graduated a year before Reiss and went on to become the top setter at Southwest Minnesota State.
In high school, she led the Vikings to third place finishes at both the 2012 and 2013 state tournaments and was named to the all-tournament team both years. She ended her high school career recording more than 3,000 assists.
Seldom have a hitter and setter from the same high school gone on to play for the same college and attain such high honors. This is the last time it will happen since Larson is a senior and will graduate this year. Reiss will be a senior next year.
The loss last week found Taylor Reiss and Kaylee Burmeister combining for 45 kills and 45 digs for SMSU. Reiss finished the match with 26 kills and 23 digs. Larson had 53 assists and nine digs in the match.
Dani Potter had 12 digs as the Mustangs' libero and Erin Corrigan added 10 digs from her back row position. SMSU will return to action next weekend as they host Minot State followed by U-Mary next Friday and Saturday in the PE Gym.
Southwest Minnesota State’s four-week reign as the nation’s top ranked volleyball team came to an end and they are now 16-1 on the year. Concordia-St. Paul, which also suffered its first conference loss of the season this past weekend, drops to No. 3 in this week’s poll.
The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, who defeated CSP this past Saturday, moved up one spot to No. 5 while also garnering one first place vote in this week’s poll.
Despite all the shuffling in the top-10 this week, Winona State (14) and Wayne State (21) maintain the same spot in this week’s top-25 while No. 18 Augustana moves down one spot from last week.