It wasn’t fast, and it wasn’t easy. But the University of South Dakota volleyball team topped Oral Roberts in five sets 3-2 to begin the conference season 1-0, extending the Coyotes home win streak to 13.
After splitting the first two sets, the Coyotes failed to capitalize on two game points in the third set, losing 25-21. USD won the fourth set, behind an 8-0 run. Then, in thrilling fashion, USD took the fifth and deciding set 15-13.
For the Coyotes, Kendall Kritenbrink recorded 24 kills, another impressive performance for the Coyotes’ senior leader. Melissa Firtko and Audrey Reed added 12 kills each. Brittany Jessen had 51 assists. Defensively, Riley Haug led USD with 17 digs.
Laura Milos led Oral Roberts with 24 kills. Lucija Bojanjac assisted on 54 kills and Kylie Johnson had 20 digs.
USD came out of the gates strong, leading for the entirety of the first set. The Coyotes built a 7-2 lead in the first set. The Golden Eagles were unable to cut the deficit to under three for the rest of the set, with an Audrey Reeg kill giving the set to the Coyotes.
Oral Roberts led for most of the second set, building a 19-13 lead. The Coyotes drew level at 20 with a Brittany Jessen kill. After exchanging points, making the score 21-21, Oral Roberts finished the set with a 4-0 run, giving Oral Roberts the 25-21 victory.
USD led for much of the third set and had two set points. Milos shut both opportunities down with kills before closing the set with another kill that gave the Golden Eagles the 27-25 victory.
Oral Roberts battled to an 11-10 lead in the fourth set, but an urgent Coyote squad then took over. USD went on an 8-0 run to take an 18-11 lead. The Coyotes did not look back from there, winning the set 25-19.
The Coyote victory in the fourth set set up an all important fifth set. The lead changed hand four times in the fifth set. USD ended the match with a final point ending in a Milos error.
The victory brings the Coyotes’ record to 8-6 (2-0 in Summit League) Oral Roberts dropped to 7-8 (1-1 in Summit League). USD plays Nebraska-Omaha Tuesday in Omaha, starting at 7:00 p.m.