By Peter Chapman
The University of South Dakota remains undefeated in the Summit League at 7-0 thanks to a 25-19, 28-26, 25-15 victory over Omaha on Sunday night at the DakotaDome.
Redshirt freshman Haley Jorgensen won the game for the Coyotes (16-6) ending set three with a kill in her college game debut. Now the Coyotes — winners of 12 in a row dating back to last season — look to start fresh as they prepare to play the second half of conference starting at IUPUI on Friday.
“Those teams that only won one game are going to wipe their slate clean and to an extent we have to also,” USD coach Matt Houk said. “7-0 doesn’t mean anything if we don’t go out and finish in the second half,”
In the win for the Coyotes, Kendall Kritenbrink led the team with 20 kills, 10 digs and four block assists. Tori Kroll had four kills, 40 assists and 11 digs. Audrey Reeg had seven kills and 11 digs and Kelsey Biltoft had eight kills. Also contributing to the Coyotes’ win, Sydney Dimke had five kills, Haley Jorgensen had three kills, and Melissa Firtko had one kill, two digs, and six block assists.
In set one, the Coyotes averaged a two-point lead over Omaha ending the set with a kill by Kritenbrink ended set one 25-19.
Set two was tough with Omaha coming from behind to tie the game at 24-24. After battling for the win, Kritenbrink had a kill to give USD the advantage 27-26. A bad set by Omaha’s Michaela Schimmer which ended the set 28-26 and put USD ahead 2-0.
“Two things happened. I think that Omaha played really good volleyball there at the end of set two. They put pressure on us with their serve and I don’t think that we executed as well as we’re capable of,” Houk said.
The Coyotes came out hitting hard in set three with a 12-1 scoring run and leading by and average of 10 points for the duration of the set.
“We really wanted to focus on our serving and blocking,” Houk said. “We didn’t feel like we had served and blocked very well in sets one and two, which has been a staple of ours, we’ve been a very good serving team and we’re the top blocking team in the conference and I think we only had two blocks after set two, and that’s just not our standard.”
Next USD will play IUPUI in Indiana on Friday. In the last game against the Jaguars, the Coyotes went to set five. Houk said he thinks that IUPUI has two talented left-side attackers and knows this match will be a battle.
“Now [we will] think that the record is 0-0 and that we have a whole new second half to start off with and go with the same attentiveness like when we start the first half (of conference),” Jorgensen said.
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