The South Dakota volleyball team swept South Dakota State on senior day to clinch a share of the team’s first Summit League regular season title Saturday night in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
South Dakota (24-6, 13-3 Summit) won the program’s first conference title in history and secured a first-round bye in the Summit League Tournament that starts Nov. 18 in Denver. USD can win the regular season title outright if North Dakota State beats Denver Sunday. South Dakota State finishes the season 5-23 and 4-12.
“This is an incredible night,” said South Dakota head volleyball coach Leanne Williamson. “First, celebrating the amazing career of two wonderful seniors was emotional. Second, to win the conference for the first time is just incredible.
“This team has worked very hard this year and has bought into what we wanted to accomplish as a program. It was quite the experience to do that on our home floor with our family and fans behind us. Our players earned this, and I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Seniors Audrey Reeg and Lindsey Brown were honored before the match. Reeg tallied 10 kills, 11 digs and three service aces. It’s her 17th double-double of the season. Brown recorded eight kills with a .500 clip and added three block assists.
Freshman outside hitter Elizabeth Loschen led the Coyote offense with 14 kills. Junior setter Brittany Jessen spread the ball around for 38 assists and added 12 digs for her 15th double-double.
Sophomore libero Lauren Mattison dug out a match-high 17 digs and sophomore Hayley Dotseth added eight more.
As a team, the Coyotes tallied eight service aces to the Jackrabbits’ two and outhit SDSU .330 to .183.
In the first set, South Dakota jumped out to a 4-1 lead after kills by Dotseth, Loschen and redshirt junior Meagan Kerns. Later in the match, USD was up 11-8 before the Coyotes scored six straight points to take a 17-8 lead. Reeg and Loschen swatted down two kills during the run. The Coyotes won the first set 25-11 and took a 1-0 match lead.
South Dakota carried the momentum into the second set and took an early 7-3 lead. South Dakota State would answer and tied up the set at 10 before taking a 12-10 lead. USD then rattled off eight straight points and scored 15 of the next 18 to win the set 25-15 and take a two set lead into the break. The Coyotes tallied nine kills, one service ace and one block assist during the 15-point barrage.
USD started the third set just like the first two and had an early lead at 4-1. The score was eventually tied up at 10 and then was tied eight more times before SDSU took a 23-21 lead. Schmidt swatted down a kill to make it a one-point game and Dotseth served an ace to tie it up at 23. After an SDSU timeout, the Jackrabbits made an error to give South Dakota the lead. On the very next point, Brown and Jessen combined for a block assist and the Coyotes won the set 25-23 and swept the Jackrabbits.
With the Coyotes’ win over the Jacks, USD improves to 4-3 in the South Dakota Showdown Series.