It was a battle between two powerhouses Saturday night as USD took on NDSU in the DakotaDen.
The Coyotes were looking to make a comeback from last night’s 1-3 loss to Denver and make a comeback they did.
In set one of the night both teams traded points and fought for supremacy. The Bison were leading the Coyotes 23-21 when sophomore setter Brittany Jessen closed the game to one point. Senior middle blocker Kelsey Biltoft followed up the point with a kill in quick succession to tie the game at 23 all. That’s when NDSU sealed their fate with a hit out of bounds followed by another hit straght into a block of Biltoft to give the Coyotes the first set 25-23.
Set two was almost identical to the first with both teams volleying the ball back and forth before tieing the game up at 13. The Coyotes would then go on a scoring spree to stretch the lead by four before losing the lead to NDSU. Courtesy of some nice kills by Biltoft and Jessen, along with a combined total of 23 digs from first-year defensive specialist Lauren Mattison and senior defensive specialist Kaitlyn Hastings, the Coyotes copied set one with a score of 25-23.
After half NDSU tried to rally, but they were shot down by the Coyotes as USD claimed victory by finishing the set 25-16 for a clean sweep.
Leanne Williamson, the head coach for the Coyotes, said her team made a concious decision to take the offensive after the slow start to the game.
“It made us a little bit nervous at the begininning, but our team made the decision that they weren’t okay with being that team anymore — the one that’s kind of chasing the opposition — so they made the decision to be the better team,” she said.
The Coyotes now turn their attention to Tuesday night’s home game against 21-6 Denver. Biltoft, who closed out Saturday night’s game with 12 kills, said the team will be looking to improve their blocking in the next few days of practice.
“We’re definitely going to be looking at some of their key players, but as of right now we’re probably going to worry about our own side right now,” she said. “We’re going to focus on making sure our block is where it needs to be and our defense is right there to back us up if we miss a block.”