Freshman Tori Kroll had 44 set assists for the University of South Dakota volleyball team, but it wasn't enough as the Coyotes fell at Utah Valley in a tough four-set match, 25-13, 13-25, 25-23, 32-30 in Great West Conference action Thursday, Oct. 28, in Orem, UT.
The 44 set assists by Kroll (Germantown, WI) were just three away from tying a career-high.
Senior Kristin Kritenbrink (Gretna, NE) had a match-high 21 kills for USD (8-17, 5-3 GWC), while freshman Amber Aschoff (Ankeny, IA) added 10. Sophomore Kim Bulaga (Crystal Lake, IL and freshman Natalie Walseth (Inver Grove Heights, MN) added nine kills each, while junior Carol Logato (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) had 21 digs.
In the first set, USD fell behind 5-0 and spent the rest of the frame playing catch-up. The Coyotes were as close as 11-7 after a kill from Kim Bulaga, but Utah Valley (16-9, 5-2 GWC) scored the next six points to build a 17-7 lead.
The Coyotes were was close as 17-10 after Walseth and Kroll teamed up for a block but Utah Valley closed the set on an 8-3 spurt to earn a 25-13 win. USD had seven kills but also had seven errors in the opening set.
The second set was a much different story for the Coyotes, thanks to the hitting of Walseth and Kritenbrink.
USD was down 9-8 before going on a 9-0 run – keyed by eight straight service points by Bulaga – to take a commanding 17-9 lead. Walseth had four kills and a block assist during that run, while Kritenbrink had two kills and a block assist.
Utah Valley cut the lead to 17-12 but USD slammed the door with six straight points, including kills by Walseth and Kritenbrink and two service aces by Logato, to extend the lead to 23-12. USD wrapped up the set shortly after a kill by junior Tahnee Reed (Pierce, NE) and a Wolverine error which gave USD a 25-13 win.
USD hit .370 for the set with Walseth and Kritenbrink recording six kills each. Kroll had 14 set assists.
The third set was close the entire way with six ties and four lead changes. USD had a 19-17 lead after a UVU attack error, but the Wolverines came back to take a 22-21 lead after a service ace.
USD tied the set at 22-22 on a kill by Aschoff but was unable to regain the lead as UVU earned the 25-23 win.
In the fourth set, Utah Valley stormed out to an 18-6 lead and appeared to be in position to cruise to the win, but USD mounted a furious comeback, going on an 18-6 run of their own to tie the set at 24-24. USD was facing elimination in the match but Walseth and Aschoff teamed up for a block to tie the set.
The Coyotes served for the set on three separate occasions but were unable to finish. With the score tied at 30-30, Utah Valley finished the set off thanks to a kill by Jaicee Kuresa and a service ace by Kathleen Stevens.
USD also got 13 digs from Kritenbrink and 11 from Aschoff. Walseth had five block assists and a solo block while Reed had four block assists to go with six kills. Logato added three service aces.
The Coyotes venture into nonconference play on Tuesday at South Dakota State. The match begins at 7 p.m. in Brookings, S.D. SDSU beat the Coyotes in four sets in Fargo, ND in September.