USD volleyball finishes season with a 23-4 record The University of South Dakota volleyball team concluded the 2008 season at with an overall record of 23-4, which tied the school record for wins in a season. The Coyotes' last tournament of the season was the National Transitional Tournament held in Smithfield, Rhode Island. USD finished as the runner-up at the tournament after falling to Houston Baptist University in the championship game. NATIONAL TRANSITIONAL TOURNAMENT RECAP: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville & Bryant University- The Coyotes beat Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 3-1 (25-22, 25-14, 17-25, 27-25) and then swept Bryant University 3-0 (25-19, 25-11 and 25-17). Against SIU-Edwardsville, USD had three players' record double-digit kills as Heather Hult led the way with an impressive 18 kills and a .471 hitting percentage. Kathleen Hruska was second on the team with 17 and Kristin Kritenbrink added 12. Gina Baldwin had 41 set assists while Amber Kobus led the defense with 25 digs. Laura Slagter had 18 digs while Baldwin added 14. USD finished the game with a .260 team hitting percentage compared to SIU-Edwardsville's .171 hitting percentage. In the match versus Bryant University, USD finished with a .290 team hitting percentage as they were lead by Kritenbrink's 13 kills. Kritenbrink had a .367 hitting percentage while also having a double-double performance adding 11 digs. Hruska added 11 kills while Hult had a team-high .412 hitting percentage with eight kills, with just one error, in 17 attempts. Gina Baldwin led the offensive attack setting up the hitters as she tallied 32 set assists. Laura Slagter had a team-high 13 digs for the Coyotes while Kobus was second on the team with 12 digs. Hruska and Hult each had four blocks as USD out-blocked Bryant University 8-to-3. Houston Baptist University- USD earned runner-up honors at the National Transitional Tournament in as the Coyotes suffered a tough 3-2 loss to Houston Baptist University in the Championship match. USD lost by scores of 25-12, 23-25, 22-25, 25-16 and 8-15. South Dakota was led by All-Tournament team selection, Kathleen Hruska who had 20 kills and a team high .366 hitting percentage. Hruska was one of three players to record double-digit kills. Kristin Kritenbrink was second on the team with 16 kills while Laura Slagter had a double-double performance of 10 kills and a team-high 28 digs. Heather Hult added eight kills. Gina Baldwin also had a double-double performance of 42 set assist and 17 digs. On defense, seniors Amber Kobus and Gabi Jarchow combined for 33 digs as Kobus tallied 21 and Jarchow had 12. Kobus finished her career surpassing the 2,000 dig mark as she now has 2,019 career digs. National Transitional Tournament All-Tournament Team: • Kathleen Hruska – USD, Delia Glover – Bryant, Amanda Polzin – UND, Jessica Barrera – HBU, Sydney Winslow – SUIE, Kaytlyn Dill – Seattle 2008 USD NOTES: • Heather Hult led the team with a .340 hitting percentage and also leads the team with 86 blocks… she was third on the team with 253 kills. • Kathleen Hruska led the team with 351 kills and was second on the team with 72 total blocks. • Gina Baldwin had a team-high 960 set assists. • Amber Kobus led the team with 520 digs, while having a team-high 43 service aces…Kobus finished her career surpassing the 2,000 dig mark as she had 2,019 career digs. • Kristin Kritenbrink was third on the team with 324 kills. • Gabi Jarchow was second on the team with 30 service aces. WINNING WAYS: The 23 wins are the most ever for a first-year Coyote volleyball coach. Matt Houk is in his first season as USD's head coach. The Coyotes tied the school record for wins in a season (23) which was set last season. South Dakota started off the season with 11 consecutive wins and finished winning eight out of their last 10 matches. KOBUS NAMED GREAT WEST ATHLETE OF THE MONTH Amber Kobus was named the Great West Conference Athlete of the Month for September, the league office announced on Friday, Oct. 24. Kobus collects Athlete of the Month honors after leading South Dakota to a 9-1 record in the month of September. The senior had 167 total digs with a serve receive percentage of .928, having just six errors in 153 attempts. THE RECORD BOOK: Gina Baldwin has 2,792 career set assists. She is 972 away from tying the all-time record held by Lisa Roberts (3,764). Heather Hult had 299 total blocks which ranks second on the career blocking list… the record is held by Mary Eller with 456.5. Hult is also the career leader in hitting percentage as she has a .293. Amber Kobus has 155 career service aces which ranks second in school history…the record is held by Mary Eller at 185…Kobus reached 2,000 digs in her career (2,019). BROKEN RECORD: Amber Kobus broke the all-time school record in digs in the 3-0 victory over Minnesota, Crookston on Sept. 6. Kobus led the defense with 14 digs in the match. She finished with 2,019 career digs while the record was held by Lindsey Soukup (2001-04) with 1,631. GREAT WEST CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: The University of South Dakota volleyball team has earned seven Great West Conference Player of the Week accolades this season. Player of the Week Honors: Heather Hult (offensive)- 9/2, Amber Kobus (defensive)- 9/2, Laura Slagter (offensive) – 9/9, Amber Kobus (defensive)- 9/9, Kathleen Hruska (offensive)- 10/12, Amber Kobus (defensive)- 10/12, Laura Slagter (defensive)- 11/19. DIG FOR THE CURE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Amber Kobus and Kathleen Hruska were named to the Seattle University Dig for the Cure Classic All-Tournament Team on Oct. 12. HEAD COACH: Matt Houk finished his first season as head coach of the Coyotes. Houk came to South Dakota with five seasons of NCAA Division I coaching experience. From 2004-06 he was an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. During his three seasons with the Phoenix, five players were named to the All-Horizon League team and six players earned academic all-league honors. Prior to his stint at Green Bay, Houk was an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 2002-03. In those two seasons the team combined to go 45-19 with 20-win seasons both years. In his first season with the Panthers, they went 20-14 overall and were 11-3 in the Horizon League. They earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament after winning the conference tournament. Then in 2003 the Panthers went 25-5 and 13-1 in conference play. In two seasons at Milwaukee, Houk coached one All-American, three all-region players, five all-conference players and back-to-back Horizon League Player of the Year award winners. Houk is a 2002 graduate from UW-Milwaukee where he earned his bachelor's degree in English. He and his wife, Angie, have three kids; Jaeden (4), Cole (2) and Jorie (1).