Coyotes drop final 2 matches at UNC Classic

The University of South Dakota volleyball team lost its final two matches at the Northern Colorado Classic Saturday in Greeley, CO.

USD, which is still without injured junior Tahnee Reed, opened the day with a three-set loss to Georgia, 25-20, 25-16, 25-14, and concluded with a 25-18, 25-14, 25-19 loss to Missouri-Kansas City.

In the first match, Georgia hit .347 compared to .077 for the Coyotes.

In the first set, USD was down 15-9 before going on a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 17-16. Freshman Natalie Walseth (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) had two service aces and a kill during that stretch.

However, USD was unable to gain the lead as Georgia went on to a 25-20 win. The Bulldogs used that momentum to record 25-16 and 25-14 wins in the second and third sets, respectively.

Sophomore Kim Bulaga (Crystal Lake, IL) led USD with eight kills, while senior Kristin Kritenbrink (Gretna, NE) added seven and Walseth added six. Freshman Tori Kroll (Germantown, WI) had 22 set assists and a team-high 10 digs, while Bulaga had eight digs. Sophomore Taylor Russell (Council Bluffs, IA) had three block assists.

Against UMKC, the Coyotes struggled to get going offensively, hitting just .019 for the match. Kritenbrink led USD with six kills, while freshman Emily Olsen (Council Bluffs, IA), Walseth and Bulaga had five each.

The first set was more competitive than the final score indicated. There were 14 ties and five lead changes. USD tied the set at 18-18 after a Kritenbrink kill, but UMKC scored the final seven points to record a 25-18 win.

The Coyotes struggled in the second set, recording just four kills while committing eight errors in a 25-14 loss.

The third set was much like the first – close for much of the way. USD was within 17-16 after a Bulaga kill but got no closer as UMKC outscored the Coyotes, 8-3 to close out the set.

Kroll had 20 set assists for USD while junior Carol Logato (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) had 10 digs. Olsen and Walseth had three block assists each.

The Coyotes are back in action on Friday, Sept. 10 at the Drake Invitational in Des Moines. USD, which will play four matches at the two-day event, opens against Idaho State at noon on Friday.

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