USD volleyball (12-8, 6-2) dropped a conference match to Omaha (12-7, 7-0) at the Sanford Coyote Sport Center Friday night, but swept North Dakota (13-12, 5-4) in Grand Forks, North Dakota on Sunday.
USD vs. Omaha
Third in Summit League standings, one spot below Omaha, the Coyotes dropped the first set 25-21, then rebounded with a dominant performance in the second set, riding two 8-0 runs that led to a 25-10 win.
Senior hitter Taylor Wilson, who ended the match with 13 kills and four blocks, said the second set was an ideal model of the Coyotes’ previous week of practice.
“We came out fighting and we came out doing what we’ve done all week at practice,” Wilson said. “In game two we did what we’ve been practicing all week. That’s why we won 25-10.”
Up 23-20 at one point in the proceeding set, Omaha scored six of the seven last points to claim the third set 26-24, and then took a close fourth set 25-23, winning the match to stay second in Summit League rankings.
Senior hitter Hayley Dotseth tallied 14 kills and 19 digs, and senior Kristina Susak added nine kills. USD’s .172 hitting percentage exceeded Omaha’s .157 hitting percentage.
Junior Libero Anne Rasmussen, who leads the Summit League with 5.31 digs per set and added 21 on Friday, said Omaha performed as expected.
“I knew it was gonna be a good battle. They’re a very good defensive team just like us, so we knew there were gonna be long rallies,” Rasmussen said. “When we served tough on the back end, we got them out of system, but we weren’t able to respond when they pushed us.”
Giving up late leads in the first and third set, head coach Leanne Williamson said her team needs to close out games on their home floor.
“We should be disappointed. It’s our home floor and we have to protect it,” Williamson said. “Unfortunately, we lost our fight in some of the tough moments. Not that Omaha didn’t make some plays, you’ve gotta give props to them, but I don’t think we fought the same way we did to gain those leads.”
USD at UND
Sunday, the Coyotes maintained their leads, beating North Dakota in three sets 25-18, 25-21, 25-23.
Dotseth led the Coyotes with 17 kills and 14 digs, followed by junior hitter Elizabeth Loschen with 11 kills, and senior Taylor Wilson with 9 kills. Wilson’s .385 season hitting percentage is highest in the Summit League.
Anne Rasmussen’s 32 digs set a new school record, according to GoYotes.com. Her 404 total digs are 25th most of all NCAA players this season.
The Coyotes remain at third place in the Summit League standings below Denver and Omaha. A month remains in regular season play, and Williamson said it’s time for the team to step up.
“We have people who do have experience. At the beginning of the year we worked on growth, but at this point in the season we need people to step up,” Williamson said. “We have a couple of positions where we haven’t consistently seen that yet.”
The Coyotes return to the SCSC to host South Dakota State (4-17, 1-7) on Friday night at 7 p.m.