USD volleyball drops 3-1 NCC decision to Augustana

USD volleyball drops 3-1 NCC decision to Augustana
The University of South Dakota women's volleyball team (14-1, 0-1 NCC) had its 14-match winning streak stopped by 13th-ranked Augustana (11-3, 1-0 NCC) in the North Central Conference opener for both squads on Friday night at the Elmen Center in Sioux Falls. The Vikings captured the match by a 3-1 score (28-30, 30-27, 30-25, 20-26).

The 14-match winning streak by South Dakota, who received votes (17) in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, was the longest in school history.

Junior middle hitter Kathleen Hruska (Sioux Falls) led the Coyotes with 20 kills on 53 attacks and hit .321. Hruska, the conference leader in kills at 4.65 per game, also had four block assists. Senior outside hitter Ashley Gross (Norfolk, NE) added 17 kills and hit .311 while Heather Hult (Davis) had 11 kills and hit .222. Sophomore setter Gina Baldwin (Mitchell) had 59 set assists while junior libero Amber Kobus (Columbus, NE) had a season-high 32 digs. USD junior Laura Slagter (Roseville, MN) had nine kills and 22 digs.


For the Vikings, Cayla Schroeder and Ellen Andrews each had 23 kills while setter Lisa Hoegh had 69 set assists.

South Dakota, which was hitting .262 on the season, did not fare as well against the Vikings. Overall, the Coyotes totaled 66 kills on 223 attacks and hit .193 while Augustana hit .208 (76K-30E-221A). USD accumulated 98 digs and 10 team blocks along with 64 assists and two service aces. The Vikings had 75 assists, 112 digs and five team blocks.

The Coyotes jumped to a 1-0 lead in the match on the strength of a 30-28 win in game one. USD hit .179 (15K-5E-56A) while Augustana hit .145 (18K-10E-55A). In the opening game, the Coyotes rallied from a 20-18 deficit to take a 23-21 lead on a kill by Gross. The game was tied at 25-25, 27-27, 28-28 before USD had consecutive points to capture the victory. South Dakota substantially improved its offense in a game two 30-27 loss by hitting .302 (20K-4E-53A) but Augustana also was effective on offense at .290 (24K-6E-62A). In game two, USD opened up a 12-6 lead and led 18-12 before Augustana rallied for the win. Tied at 25-25, the Vikings had a 5-2 run to close out the game.

In Augustana's 30-25 game three victory, the Vikings hit just .123 (16K-9E-57A) while the Coyotes managed just a .093 hitting percentage (13K-8E-54A). With the game tied at 11-11, Augustana went on a 7-0 run to take an 18-11 lead and the Coyotes were unable to put together a rally as the Vikings grabbed a 2-1 advantage in the match. In a back-and-forth game four, Augustana was able to grab a 30-26 win on the strength of a .277 hitting performance (18K-5E-47A). USD, which hit .200 (18K-6E-60A) trailed early but rallied to take a 24-22 lead before the Vikings closed on an 8-2 run to win the NCC match.

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