Coyote volleyball dropped only two total sets in a sweep of their first ever home tournament, the South Dakota Classic, defeating Northeastern 3-0 and California 3-1 Friday, and Northern Colorado 3-1 Saturday.
MATCH 1: Northeastern vs USD
Coyotes overthrew Northeastern 25-21, 25-15 and 25-18 in a three-set game in SD Classic opener on Friday, Aug. 31.
Senior middle blocker Taylor Wilson led the team with 15 kills, while senior outside hitter Hayley Dotseth followed with 12 kills and two aces. Madison Jurgens tallied 38 assists and junior defensive specialist Anne Rasmussen defended the opponent’s attacks with 18 digs.
According to GoYotes.com, the Coyotes tallied at least seven total team blocks for the fourth straight match as Wilson had one solo and three block assists while a pair of freshmen, middle blocker Claire Gerdes and outside hitter Jenna Wagemester, tallied three block assists apiece.
MATCH 2: California vs USD
Game two for the Coyotes ended in great applause as the 3-1 game marked their third win in six matches against a Pac-12 team. No match was won with ease as the four sets finished with identical 25-23 cores.
Despite dropping the first set, the Coyotes recovered by winning the next three.
Dotseth logged 18 kills on 49 attacks with 17 digs and senior outside hitter Kristina Susak came next with 10 kills. Grathoff tallied six blocks and Rasmussen dug 20 balls.
Taylor Wilson, a senior, said topping California was special in her four years as a Coyote, as beating top schools hasn’t happened often.
“Every time we get to a big school, we get really close and perform well, but we never end up on top,” Wilson said. “Going into our match tonight our coach said ‘that’s enough–we’re gonna win a big game and we’re gonna do it together’.”
“It was a complete team win, everyone stepped up to the play and we all executed the game plan,” said junior outside hitter Elizabeth Loschen, who completed the match with nine kills, no errors and a .360 hitting percentage.
Dotseth said the game plan for match three was simply to win.
“We’ve played UNC in the past three years,” Dotseth said. “It’s going to be a greedy win and a super defensive game, which is something we pride ourselves in.”
Coach Williamson said a win like this was huge for the volleyball program.
“I think our team stepped up to the occasion. We talked about taking advantage of opportunities and they did just that. We didn’t always play the cleanest volleyball, but we made plays down the stretch and made things difficult for them,” Williamson said. “We still have things we can work on, which is probably the most exciting thing, but a win like that is huge for our program.”
Coach Williamson thanked fans and students for their support and energy.
“I can’t describe how great it is to be on our home floor this early in the season, playing in front of our awesome fans,” Williamson said. “I mean, the student section was just amazing, gave us a lot of energy and it’s just nice to be able to be home.”
MATCH 3: Northern Colorado vs USD
USD volleyball ended the inaugural SD Classic undefeated, sweeping Northern Colorado away 3-1.
The Coyotes took the first set 25-15, dropped the second set 25-17, but won the last two sets 25-22 and 26-24.
Dotseth took on the attack with 18 kills, followed by Kristina Susak and Taylor Wilson with 12 kills each. Rasmussen tacked a tournament-high of 27 digs.
The team ended the tournament with a total of 150 kills, 20 blocks, a .807 hitting percentage and 419 total attacks.
“We definitely saw some good things happen with our team and some things we can work on,” Coach Williamson said. “We handled California a little bit better yesterday and I think we backed off today when they pushed us.”
During the third set, Lauren Sauer reached her 1000th dig, becoming the 14th player in the history of USD volleyball to do so.
Sauer, who missed last season due to injury, said it was a goal of hers since freshman year to excel as a top digger and reaching 1,000 digs was a memorable moment.
“It’s really cool, and especially after missing last season, to come back and be able to perform right away,” Sauer said.
Taylor Wilson, Anne Rasmussen, and Hayley Dotseth were named to the SD Classic All-Tournament team. Dotseth was named Most Valuable Player.
The Coyotes compete at the Central Arkansas Tournament in Conway, AR, next weekend, facing Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Central Arkansas and Little Rock.
“We’ll get back to being greedy, making sure that we take care of our side,” Coach Williamson said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to improve this week and going into the next week.”