North Dakota State, South Dakota Advance to Semifinals

North Dakota State, South Dakota Advance to Semifinals

Match 1 - The Basics

Score: No. 4 North Dakota State (3), No. 5 Omaha (1)

Records: North Dakota State (19-8, 10-5) | Omaha (10-18, 7-8)

Location: Hamilton Gymnasium – Denver, Colo.

DENVER, Colo. – No. 4 North Dakota State outlasted No. 5 Omaha (21-25, 31-29, 25-15, 25-19) in a match that saw the second-highest scoring set in modern league tournament history and a triple-double from Bison senior Brianna Rasmusson.

Officially, Rasmusson finished with 36 assists, 12 digs and 10 kills. Her teammate and 2017 league Defensive Player of the Year Mikaela Purnell finished with a match-high 28 digs, marking the 10th time this season and 21st time in her career the senior finished with 20-plus digs.

It was an entertaining match from first serve, as each team battled one another closely for most of the set. Omaha was able to create some distance at 24-20 and eventually took the set, 25-21, on a crafty kill by setter Sydney O'Shaughnessy who finished with 36 assists for the Mavs.

An incredible second set saw Omaha stretch a 19-11 lead thanks in part to three consecutive kills from 2017 league Freshman of the Year Bella Sade, junior Mackenzie Horkey and O'Shaughnessy. The Bison, however, pieced together an 11-3 run aided by five combined kills from Rasmusson and junior McKenzie Burke, who led all players with 13 kills.

Tied at 22, both teams traded points until NDSU mustered two consecutive tallies on an attack error from Omaha's Gessica Gdowski and a kill from senior Jessica Jorgensen. With a final score of 31-29, it was the second-highest scored set in league tournament history since the switch to the modern set format in 2008.

NDSU took control of the third set, extending its lead to 19-10 on a kill from freshman Bella Lien. The Bison took a 2-1 match advantage into the fourth set where the Mavericks, to their credit, never caved. O'Shaughnessy, playing in her final match, added 20 digs to her stat line to qualify for her 14th double-double of the season. It would not be enough, though, as NDSU downed Omaha 25-19 in the set and 3-1 in the match.


  • Down 19-11 in the second set and 1-0 in the match, NDSU Head Coach Jennifer Lopez called a timeout to settle her team down. From there, the Bison went on an 11-3 run to tie the match at 22 and eventually took the set to tie the match at one.  


  • NDSU's Rasmusson logged her first-career triple-double, going for 36 assists, 12 digs and 10 kills—the first Bison triple-double since Coach Lopez turned the trick 2010
  • Burke (NDSU) notched a double-double (13 kills, 13 digs) for the fourth time this season
  • In her final match as a Maverick, O'Shaughnessy turned in a double-double with 36 assists and tied a season-high with 20 digs
  • Omaha's Gdowski recorded her third-career double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs
  • Omaha's Sade recorded four service aces for the second-consecutive match, both coming against the Bison


  • The Bison advance to the semifinals of the Summit League Volleyball Championship for the second-straight season and third time in four years, taking on No. 1 Denver at 3 p.m. MT

Match 2 - The Basics

Score: No. 3 South Dakota (3), No. 6 Fort Wayne (1)

Records: South Dakota (17-10, 11-4) | Fort Wayne (12-19, 4-11)

Location: Hamilton Gymnasium – Denver, Colo.

DENVER, Colo. – Another hard-fought, gritty Summit League matchup between No. 3 South Dakota and No. 6 Fort Wayne saw the Coyotes edge the Mastodons three sets to one (25-23, 21-25, 25-13, 25-21) thanks to a triple-double from three-time Setter of the Year Brittany Jessen.

Jessen handed out 46 assists accompanied by 10 kills and 15 digs in the match. Her teammate Hayley Dotseth turned in a double-double herself with 16 kills and a team-high 18 digs. On Fort Wayne's side, Nicole Rightnowar shined with a season-high 20 kills and 11 digs for her 20th double-double of the year.

Neither team could gain any ground on the other in set one, up until USD junior middle blocker Taylor Wilson blasted back-to-back kills to give the 'Yotes a 25-23 set victory. In set two, the Mastodons took advantage of four-straight Coyote errors to take a 19-17 lead they would not relinquish. Senior Lauren Hoffman threw down two of her nine kills to lead Fort Wayne into the locker room knotted at one.

Out of the break, the 'Yotes raced to a 6-1 lead thanks to a pair of kills from Dotseth and Wilson. USD extended its lead to 10 midway through the set, as a couple of Mastodon attack errors and an Elizabeth Loschen kill gave the 'Yotes a 19-9 advantage. A Fort Wayne error capped off a 5-2 run to close out the set in favor of USD, 25-13. 

The Mastodons jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth set will back-to-back kills from Hoffman. The gap closed quickly, however, as neither team saw a lead larger than five the rest of the set. Fort Wayne, showing a lot of fight, battled back to cut the USD lead to 23-21, but two errors sealed the set and match for the Coyotes.


  • With Fort Wayne fighting back and closing the deficit to 23-21 in the fourth set, the 'Yotes outlasted the Mastodon comeback and secured the set, 25-21, and the match, 3-1. 


  • It was the first triple-double of the season for Jessen, the fifth of her career, and the 11th time this year she surpassed 40 assists
  • Rightnowar recorded her sixth-consecutive double-double tonight (20 kills, 11 digs)
  • With the win, South Dakota will play in the semifinals of the league tournament for the fifth-straight season


  • The Coyotes will take on No. 2 Oral Roberts at 6 p.m. MT, looking for a second-straight trip to the #SummitVB Championship game


Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), 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 with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.


#SummitVB Players of the Week
September 11, 2017 #SummitVB Players of the Week