The success of Southwest Minnesota State's athletes on homecoming carried over to Monday as three Mustangs earned Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference player of the week honors for their performances over the weekend.
SMSU senior running back Warren Matthews was chosen as the NSIC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts during the Mustangs' 40-24 victory over Wayne State Saturday night.
Matthews, a 5-foot-9, 188-pound native of Minneapolis rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, helping the Mustang offense to 324 yards rushing against the Wildcats. Matthews also had a 72-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass and finished with 258 all-purpose yards in the game.
SMSU's win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Mustangs (2-4 overall) and a seven-game losing streak to Wayne State.
Matthews has rushed for a team-high 535 yards and three touchdowns on 80 carries this season. He also has 11 catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
The second-ranked SMSU volleyball team had not one, but two athletes earn player of the week honors, with senior middle blocker Mary Groth earning NSIC Offensive Player of the Week honors, and freshman Emilee Gutzmer earning NSIC Setter of the Week accolades.
Groth and Gutzmer are the first Mustangs to earn player of the week honors this season.
A native of West Bend, Wis., Groth had a combined .490 attack percentage and 27 kills to help SMSU to a sweep of Upper Iowa Friday and a 3-1 win over Winona State on Saturday. Groth had a match-high 17 kills and five solo blocks in SMSU's win over Winona State, which was the Warriors' first conference loss of the season.
Gutzmer, a native of Jordan, piled up 104 set assists in seven sets for an NSIC-best average of 14.86 assists per set over the two matches. Gutzmer leads the nation in assists per set at 13.15. She had 50 assists in SMSU's sweep of UIU, and 54 set assists in the win over Winona State.
The SMSU volleyball team (16-1 overall, 8-1 NSIC) resumes play Friday with a road match at Bemidji State.
The SMSU football team will also take to the road for a game against unbeaten Minnesota State-Mankato on Saturday.