Coyote volleyball splits weekend and says goodbye to seniors
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Coyote volleyball splits weekend and says goodbye to seniors

Last weekend, the Coyotes volleyball team took on two top Summit League opponents in Denver and Omaha.

The first game was Thursday Nov. 11 against the Denver Pioneers. The Coyotes defeat the Pioneers 3-2.

The Coyotes came into the weekend with a 12-2 record, sitting in third place right behind Denver, who was also 12-2. Denver held the tie-breaker over the Coyotes when they defeated them earlier in the season 3-2.

In the matchup, Denver had won the first two sets 25-17 and 27-25, but the Coyotes rallied back, winning the next two sets 25-19 and 27-25 and pushing the game to set five.

In set five, the Coyotes prevailed, winning 15-10, with Sami Slaughter helping by getting four kills in that set alone. Slaughter led the team in kills with 19 and Elizabeth Juhnke was behind her with 17 in the match.

For the Pioneers, Lydia Bartalo led the team with 18 kills, and Hailey Green had 14. The Pioneers out-killed the Coyotes (70-60) but had more errors (24-12).

Denver also led in other categories in the game such as aces (11-8), assists (66-55), digs (56-54) and total attacks (163-130).

The Coyotes hit at a better attack percentage than the Pioneers (36.9-28.2) and also led in blocks (9-7).

With the win, the Coyotes moved ahead of the Pioneers for second place in the Summit League, going on to play the Omaha Mavericks Sunday, Nov. 14.

The Mavericks came into the matchup at 14-1 in first place of the Summit League. Their only loss on the season came from the Coyotes, where USD won 3-2 in Omaha. The Mavericks defeat the Coyotes 3-1.

For the Coyotes, it was senior night. The team saw five seniors play their last regular season home match as Coyotes: Slaughter, Claire Gerdes, Madison Jurgens, Brooklyn Bollweg and Maddie Wiedenfeld.

The Coyotes won the first set 27-25 after being down four points early in the match. The Mavericks bounced back, however, and won the next three sets 25-15, 25-23 and 25-21.

In the match, Juhnke led both teams in kills with 17, and Omaha’s Shayla McCormick was right behind her with 16.

South Dakota’s other top hitters were Madison Harms (11), Aimee Adams (5) and Slaughter (5).

For Omaha, their top attackers were Sadie Limback (12) and Marriah Buss (12).

Both teams had a hitting percentage under 20%, with Omaha at 18.7% and South Dakota at 16%.

South Dakota only led in one statistical category—blocks—which they led nine to Omaha’s eight. Both teams had a player make five blocks in the game. For Omaha, it was McKenna Ruch, and for South Dakota, it was Harms.

Omaha led in every other category including kills (53-44), aces (9-4) and assists (50-43).

The Mavericks also had the leading assister in the game. Sami Clarkson had 47 total assists compared to the Coyotes’ leading assister Jurgens, who had 37.

With this win, Omaha clinches first place in the Summit League and moves their record to 15-1 with two games remaining this season. Their next game will be played Nov. 18 against Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla.

As for the Coyotes, they again are tied with Denver as the second seed in the Summit League with a record of 13-3 on the year.

For their next game on the schedule, the Coyotes will travel to Grand Forks to play against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The match will be played Thursday, Nov. 18. The Coyotes then conclude their regular season at North Dakota State Saturday at 11 a.m.