USD Volleyball continued their Summit League success with two wins over the weekend. They defended home court with wins over Purdue-Fort Wayne on Friday and Western Illinois Sunday to improve to 4-0 in the conference.
USD vs. Purdue-Fort Wayne
USD volleyball rallied late to beat Purdue-Fort Wayne in five sets at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center (SCSC) on Friday night.
After falling behind two sets to one, Senior hitters Taylor Wilson and Hayley Dotseth took over on the attack and led the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory.
It took five sets for the Coyotes to top the Mastodons, recording set scores of 25-20, 19-25, 24-26, 25-22 and 15-9. They improved to 9-6 overall and 3-0 in the Summit League. The Mastodons record fell to 11-6 overall, 2-1 in the Summit.
“We faced a very strong team tonight who is very good defensively which makes for great volleyball,” Coach Leanne Williamson said. “Obviously, we are very happy with the outcome and we gained confidence with the victory.”
The Coyotes appeared strong in the first set, but the next two sets proved to be more of a challenge.
“I think we started out strong but struggled a little bit through sets two and three,” Wilson said. “In the fourth (set) Purdue-Fort Wayne started to take control and we knew we had to take over and win this set.”
Take control is what the Coyotes did. After slipping behind 14-11 in the fourth set, Wilson registered back-to-back kills, an assisted block and another kill to give the Coyotes a lead. Dotseth then served an ace to make the score 16-14 Coyotes. The rest of the set was close, but the Coyotes didn’t surrender the lead.
USD’s momentum carried into the fifth set, where the Coyotes would not trail the entire set, and Dotseth smashed home her 16th kill of the game to seal the victory.
“We had a few five-set matches earlier in the year and we took a tough loss against Montana in five,” Wilson said. “We didn’t want to have to experience that again and knew we had to take care of business.”
Wilson and Dotseth lead the offensive charge for the Coyotes with 16 kills each, and junior Elizabeth Loschen added 14 kills. Junior Mehana Fonseca tallied four aces to lead the match. Junior Anne Rasmussen lead the Coyotes with 26 digs, followed by Dotseth (18) and redshirt-freshman Madison Jurgens (16). Jurgens contributed 51 assists on the night.
Nicole Rightnowar had game highs in kills (23) and digs (27) to lead the Mastodons. Katie Crowe added 17 kills and 20 digs.
USD vs. Western Illinois
Coyote Volleyball won game two of three straight at the SCSC in three sets over Western Illinois Sunday afternoon.
The Coyotes won with set scores of 25-12, 25-17 and 25-16. USD trailed in the first set after opening an 8-2 lead but regained momentum. The second set started slow for USD, but after taking a 12-11 lead on a Freshman Lolo Weideman kill, they would not look back. The three set sweep was a relief after Friday night’s five-set thriller.
“Friday gave us a lot of confidence because things didn’t necessarily go really well for us during parts of that match,” said Hayley Dotseth. “We talked about that and we didn’t really dwell on the things we did poorly. We really worked hard to fix them on practice Saturday.”
Dotseth entered Sunday with 222 kills on the season, third in the Summit League with 222 kills, and added 12 more against WIU. Loschen and Taylor Wilson finished with eight kills each and Weideman added seven.
“It’s really important for us to defend our home court so we knew we had to come out strong,” Loschen said. “Western always pushes us really hard so we knew we had to not play to their level and stay on our level the whole time.”
Anne Rasmussen finished with 15 digs, bumping her total to 318, second in the Summit League. Madison Jurgens continued the great start to her Coyote career with 37 assists. Her 10.10 assists per set are fourth in the Summit League.
The Coyotes host Denver at the SCSC on Friday, Oct. 5. Denver has won twelve matches in a row and is undefeated in conference play. The focus for the Coyotes is simple: consistency.
“Denver is always a fun match for us because they are one of the best teams in the Summit,” Dotseth said. “What happens Friday will be really important to finish the season off. We’re really excited to get that game at the beginning of the season because we played them at home later in the season the past couple (of) years.”
Following the match against Denver, USD treks north to Brookings, where the in-state rivalry with South Dakota State (record) is renewed for the first time this season. That match is set for Sunday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m.