Coming off two previous losses in five set matches over the weekend at the DakotaDome, the University of South Dakota women’s volleyball team ended up pulled off a close victory of 3-2 over Drake University Monday night.
An impressive night at the net by freshman outside-hitter Kendall Kritenbrink helped the Coyotes improve their record at the DakotaDome to 5-4 on the season.
Kritenbrink said in the final set, the team came together and continued to play their game.
“We kept telling each other to stay together, have fun and play our game,” Kritenbrink said.
The Coyotes ended up beating the Bulldogs 3-2 with scores of 25-18, 19-25, 25-19, 25-27, 15-10.
The freshman’s performance not only helped improve the Coyotes’ record to 12-12 on the season, but set a personal match-high in kills for Kritenbrink with 28.
The loss dropped the Bulldogs’ record to 7-16.
Kritenbrink also recorded nine digs and two solo blocks.
The rest of the Coyote offense had a more balanced attack with sophomore Amber Aschoff recording 11 kills, senior Tahnee Reed with nine kills, and junior Kim Bulaga with eight.
Junior and sophomore setters Bailey Lupardus and Tori Kroll each recorded 28 assists and 11 digs.
Senior libero Carol Logato led the defense with 27 digs and freshman Riley Haug added 14.
Set one opened with the Bulldogs taking a quick lead until the Coyotes came back with multiple small scoring runs to take the first game fairly easily 25-18.
This pattern then occurred in the next two sets, favoring the Bulldogs in the second and the Coyotes again in the third.
The fourth set showcased much more back and forth play for both teams, tying the score 10 different times. In the end however, Drake captured the hard-fought set 25-27.
In the deciding fifth set, the Coyotes scored the opening points for the first time on the night with two kills by Kritenbrink. After losing the lead on a quick run by Drake, the Coyotes regained control with two service aces by Reed and never looked back.
A balanced attack with Bulaga, Kroll and Kritenbrink sent the Coyotes on three separate 3-0 scoring runs until they seized the set and the match 15-10.
Next up for the Coyotes is a rematch against Summit League opponent Missouri-Kansas City. The Coyotes defeated Missouri-Kansas City in three straight games in the DakotaDome Sept. 24.
Kritenbrink said the team will have to build off Monday’s win and continue to play together.
“We definitely need to keep working hard at practice,” Kritenbrink said. “We need to just bring it all to the match on Saturday.”
The match is set for Saturday, Oct. 22nd in Kansas City at 7 p.m.
Reach reporter Jilanne Doom at Jilanne.Doom@usd.edu