“It doesn’t get any bigger,” the University of South Dakota’s head volleyball coach Matt Houk said.
Even with post-season hopes on the line, Friday’s battle against South Dakota State does not need any extra hype.
“It’s always big, always a big match,” Houk said. “Were not trying to think about the post season right now. It’s one match at a time, but SDSU is always a big game for us.”
The fact of the matter is that USD’s game against SDSU has more implications than just bragging rights as USD’s slim post-season hopes ride on whether the team can win out the rest of the season and have a few teams lose at the right time.
Only the top four teams in the league advance to the conference tournament on Nov. 16 and 17, currently the Coyotes sit two games back from fourth place Kansas City.
The Coyotes, who are 11-14 on the season and 5-8 in the conference, will have their hands full as theY try to sweep the season series against the Jackrabbits, who currently sit in third place in the Summit League
Having already previously beat SDSU in Brookings Oct. 6, the Coyotes know what it takes to beat the Jackrabbits and will look to build of the success they had earlier in the year.
“We will use some of the keys from the last match we played against SDSU,” Houk said. “We served the ball really well and that helped us keep a balanced attack. Right now SDSU is playing really well. We will look at the film and see what adjustments they have made.”
Another tough task facing the Coyotes will be trying to slow down SDSU’s Kelli Fiegen who dominates every blocking statistic in the Summit League.
Fiegen has 155 total blocks on the season, which is 35 more than the next best in the league.
“We need to know where (Fiegen) is on the court at all times,” Houk said. “She can really cause us some problems.”
After SDSU the Coyotes only have one final home game left on their schedule against North Dakota State on Nov. 4.
Houk said that the Coyotes don’t exactly have the home record they would like but the team does enjoy playing in the “Coyote Den” this season.
“It is a great atmosphere for us to play in,” Houk said. “Overall it brings our fans closer to the action and we can’t complain about playing there.”
Junior Jacob Parsons said watching the volleyball team in the Coyote Den is a great experience for Coyote fans.
“Watching USD volleyball in the “Coyote Den” brings the action of the sport closer to the fan,” Parsons said. “I think it was a good move to play their home games their instead of the corner in the DakotaDome.”