High school fall sports
THUMBS UP: Unstoppable. That's what the Marshall High School volleyball team was this year, and on Saturday, the Tigers became the fifth team in Minnesota to win three straight state volleyball titles. What's more, the Tigers dominated in St. Paul. And while no state championship comes easy, they made it look that way, winning nine straight sets en route to another title. Congratulations, Tigers. And congratulations as well to the Minneota volleyball team. No, they didn't come away with the Class A title, but another third-place finish is nothing to sneeze at. We also want to wish Ashley Dunn and Kylie Vermeire - members of the MHS swimming and diving team - good luck at the state meet next week.
THUMBS UP: Adding to the excitement on the local sports scene is the Southwest Minnesota State University football team's continued success. Led by quarterback Charlie Kern and Tyler Tonderum, the top rusher in Division II, the Mustangs lit up the Metrodome scoreboard last week in a 55-24 thrashing of Concordia-St. Paul. The win was SMSU's third straight and secured a winning season. It also kept SMSU's hopes alive for a berth in the annual Mineral Water Bowl - the annual Division II bowl game that pits a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference team against a team from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The Mustangs (6-4 - 3-1 away from Marshall) have become increasingly competitive during the last few seasons under fourth-year head coach Cory Sauter and look to be well on their way to establishing a winning tradition, thanks mostly to an offense that has brought back memories of the late 1980s, early '90s. SMSU is averaging nearly 43 points per game this year and has topped 50 four times, including in every game of their current three-game winning streak. Translation: They're fun to watch.
THUMBS UP: Sticking with the sports theme, we would be remiss if we didn't recognize the Southwest Minnesota State University women's soccer team, which this week qualified for the NCAA Regional Tournament for the first time. The Mustangs will face Central Missouri at 1 p.m. today in Mankato. SMSU didn't finish the regular season as strong as it had hoped but can more than make up for it with a win today in its first-ever regional tournament appearance.