By: Aubrie Laufenberg
Score: No. 2 South Dakota 3, No. 6 North Dakota State 1
Records: South Dakota (20-9), North Dakota State (9-20)
Location: Hamilton Gymnasium
Denver, Colo. –No. 2 South Dakota beat No. 6 North Dakota State (25-11, 21-25, 25-11, 25-23) in the second semifinal match of Saturday's competitions. The Coyotes secured the final spot in the championship match scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. MT. USD will match up against No. 1 Denver to see who will be crowned the champion.
Who Stood Out
Three Coyotes recorded double-digits to guide USD to a 3-1 victory over the Bison. Hayley Dotseth led the team with 14 kills, while Taylor Wilson and Elizabeth Loschen contributed 13 more apiece. Madison Jurgens ended the match with 44 assists. Another four Coyotes led the defensive pack. Anne Rasmussen tallied a team-high 21 digs, while Dotseth contributed 17. Mehana Fonseca ended the night with 11 digs as Lolo Weideman added 10 more.
The Bison were led by Alexis Bachmeier who recorded a team-best 16 kills, while Allie Mauch added eight more. Kalli Hegerle recorded 29 assists on the evening. Defensively, Abbi Klos led NDSU with 18 digs, while Hegerle added 10 more. The Bison finished the match with 10 total team blocks compared to the Coyote's nine.
It was a fight from the start as the Coyotes split the first two sets with Bison. South Dakota brought the momentum to begin the third set pushing the score up 7-2 on North Dakota State. NDSU worked its way back within three when a service ace by McKenzie Burke put the score 9-6, but it wouldn't be enough to keep pace with USD. At a 14-10 score, a few Bison errors and a kill by USD's Kristina Susak would ignite a 10-1 run to give the Coyotes enough energy to close the third set 25-11. The fight didn't stop for the Coyotes in the fourth set as the set saw 11 tied scores and four lead changes. South Dakota gritted out a tight 25-23 victory to claim the match.
"Being able to come back from being down in the fourth late shows a lot of what our team can accomplish," head South Dakota coach Leanne Williamson said. "I think the biggest thing is we played really good defense. We frustrated their hitters in some situations and made them take swings they didn't want to take in our first two winning sets.
"We pride ourselves on our defense. We led the league in digs per set and we try and give ourselves enough opportunities to score points in the long run. Defense is a big part of who we are and who we want to continue to be. It will be something we will need going into tomorrow."
- Dotseth's double-double tonight makes this the 20th double-double of the season
- Fonseca's 11 digs are the second-most digs she recorded this season
- Loschen finished with a .385 clip (13-3-26)
- This will be the second time South Dakota meets Denver in the championship match, the first being in 2016
- Bachmeier was one kill shy of her season-best 17, which she recorded against South Dakota State
- Lien had a team-best hitting percentage .600 (3-0-5), while Hegerle had the second-best .429 (3-0-7)
South Dakota enters the championship match against Denver scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. MT. Fans can watch the championship match on Altitude TV or ESPN3.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 36 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 115,000 at nine institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced 12 NCAA Champions along with over 100 Academic All-Americans, nearly 125 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.