Eleven games into their inaugural Division-I season, the University of South Dakota volleyball team is feeling the wear of the road.
Tournaments in Arkansas, Alabama and North Dakota over the first three weeks of the season, have left the Coyotes at 6-5 heading into conference play, setting the standard for the remainder of their 2012 campaign.
Junior Amber Aschoff said the team hopes to make the NCAA tournament in 2012.
“I think we’re pretty confident and confident in the way we run our system,” Aschoff said.
With just eight home games scheduled, the Coyotes will continue to be tested on the road by conference foes North Dakota State and South Dakota State, as well as a match-up with Creighton slated for later this month.
In his fifth season as head coach, Matt Houk enters the 2012 season ranked third on USD’s list of all-time wins, boasting a win percentage of 52.5 percent
“This year’s team is definitely a strong offensive team than a defensive team,” Houk said. “But we are going to try and be the best in every aspect each night”
Veteran leadership will be crucial with seniors Bailey Lupardus, Lindsey Sathre and Kim Bulaga contributing experience to a relatively young Coyote team, as five freshman, four sophomores and three juniors round out the roster.
Sathre said the team is excited to compete in Division-I.
“I am welcoming the challenge this kind of competition brings, Sathre said.
The Coyotes will look to make it three consecutive wins when they travel to Macomb, Ill. to take on Western Illinois on Sept. 14.