USD defeated Denver to win their first Summit League title in school history Sunday night.
Denver (27-2, 15-0) hadn’t lost at home since Sept. 16, 2017, until the Coyotes (21-9, 13-3) claimed victory on a kill from senior Hayley Dotseth to end the fifth set.
Senior Taylor Wilson tallied a career-high 24 kills and a .511 hitting percentage, and was name the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after the match. She also led the team with five blocks. Dotseth followed with 19 kills and 15 digs. Junior Elizabeth Loschen recorded 12 kills. Redshirt-freshman Madison Jurgens dished 50 assists and dug 20 balls, both team highs.
The Coyotes took the first set by a score of 27-25. Kristina Susak and Elizabeth Loschen each had four kills for the Coyotes in a back-and-forth first set. South Dakota won the set despite the Pioneers having more attacks (61-50) and kills (20-16) than the Coyotes.
Denver tied up the game with a 26-24 win in the second set. The Pioneers won the set after an attack error by Madison Jurgens, capping off a 6-0 run. Denver once again bested the Coyotes in total attacks (41-34) and kills (16-14).
The Pioneers continued their strong play into the third set with a 25-19 win. The Coyotes were limited to only 10 kills in the third set and committed nine errors.
South Dakota bounced back in tightly contested fourth set to win 25-21. Taylor Wilson led the charge with 12 total attacks and five kills. The Coyotes matched Denver with 15 kills and two blocks in the set, but committed four fewer turnovers.
In the fifth and final set, South Dakota defeated Denver 15-9 and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. The NCAA will announce times and dates of the tournament following the conclusion of all conference championships.