The South Dakota volleyball team won the first set against Creighton but the Bluejays came back to win the final three in a 22-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-23 victory over the Coyotes at the Bluejay Invitational Saturday. The Coyotes lost to Northern Illinois to conclude the weekend, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21.
The weekend saw the Coyotes face three quality opponents as all three teams are picked to finish in the top four of their respective conferences.
�We don�t feel like we�re very far away,� South Dakota head coach Matt Houk said. �The great thing about facing this type of competition is it shows you what your flaws are. Those teams take advantage of what you don�t do well. We learned we need to improve our serve receive and we need to shore up our block. We also learned we can attack the ball with anybody.�
Against Creighton, the Coyotes were led by senior Carol Logato (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), who led the way with a career-high 19 kills, while freshman Kendall Kritenbrink (Gretna, NE) added 13. Sophomore Natalie Walseth (Inver Grove Heights, MN) added eight kills and senior Tahnee Reed (Pierce, NE) collected seven. Sophomore Tori Kroll (Germantown, WI) had 38 set assists and also led with 14 digs.
The Coyotes trailed 13-10 in the first set but scored five straight points � with Kritenbrink and Reed providing two kills each � to take a 15-13 lead. The Bluejays battled back to take a 20-19 lead, but the Coyotes battled back to tie the set at 22-22. They scored the final three points � with Kroll providing two kills � to record a 25-22 win. South Dakota hit .372 in the first set, led by seven kills from Logato.
South Dakota never led in the second set, and was as close as 12-9 after a Walseth kill but could get no closer and fell 25-18. Creighton hit .481 in the second set, compared to .156 for the Coyotes.
In the third set, the Coyotes took a 7-5 lead after a Logato kill, but Creighton scored five of the next six points to take a 10-8 lead. The Coyotes were within 14-11 after a Kritenbrink kill but Creighton pulled away from there to a 25-17 win.
The Coyotes gained momentum midway through the fourth set. They were down 10-9 but scored the next six points � with Logato supplying three kills � to take a 15-10 lead. Creighton came back with a 9-2 run to take a 19-17 lead.
South Dakota battled back to tie the set at 23-23 after a Creighton attack error, but the Bluejays scored the final two points to secure a 25-23 win and a 3-1 win in the match.
�We came up in the first set really rolling hard,� Houk said. �They came back and challenged us. We had an opportunity in every set against Creighton. We�re just struggling finishing; we can�t get over the hump yet. We played really good volleyball against Creighton.�
Against Northern Illinois, which is the preseason favorite in the Mid-American Conference, Kritenbrink had 11 kills. Logato added nine, while Reed had six. Kroll had 25 set assists while Logato had 12 digs and freshman Riley Haug (Gretna, NE) added 11.