‘We belong here’: USD volleyball hopes to build from NCAA Tournament appearance

KELOLAND.com Original

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (KELO) — The USD volleyball team suffered a season ending loss to 12 seed Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament.

USD was swept in straight sets by Minnesota, but they made life difficult for the Golden Gophers as several Coyote runs put pressure on Minnesota.

“I felt like we got close and would tighten it up and then whether we’d have a miscommunication error or again that down ball scoring. Some of those plays happened in those moments, which kind of gave them that lead back again, but we did go on runs,” USD head coach Leanne Williamson said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t always able to sustain that, sometimes based on what we were doing sometimes based on what they were earning on their side.”

The Coyotes wanted to attack the 12 seed Golden Gophers and they did just that.

“We never really backed down in any moment,” USD senior Madison Jurgens said. “We started off slow that first set, but we ended up closing out the match really well. We carried that into the second set and they went on a little run in the third, but I don’t think there was any moment where we doubted ourselves. We stayed confident and we stayed true to ourselves.”

“I felt like we were aggressive, we were fearless in a lot of situations and some of those times went into errors, but playing against a high level team like Minnesota, you’ve got to be able to take some risks and I felt like our players did that, especially offensively,” Williamson said.

USD fell short of their goal to upset Minnesota, but the grit shown by the Coyotes left no doubt in their mind, they deserved to be in NCAA Tournament.

“What we talked about in the locker room is that we belong. We belong here. Our program has improved a ton over the last four years,” Williamson said. “This senior class is leaving the program in a better spot than when it came. They’ve had a lot of success and I think we can all walk away feeling like we did give it our all.”

The past four seasons have seen some of the most success in the history of USD volleyball including three Summit League tournament titles, three NCAA Tournament appearances and a record of 87-30.

USD Summit League Champions – 2021

“This senior class, some of them have been here five years, some four or three, so we’ve got a good group that has been here through different times of the program’s success, but they have, they’ve won a lot,” Williamson said.

“I think just the goal for the team from now on is just to continue that legacy. It’s built, it’s there for them and I know they can do it,” Jurgens said. “Coming into the next couple years, they have a lot of talent still coming back and I’m definitely really excited to see what they can do and hopefully continue that conference championship streak and then head to the NCAA (tournament) again.”

USD concluded the 2021 season with a 20-10 record.

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