Buoyed by a strong atmosphere inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on Friday evening the South Dakota volleyball team turned in its best performance of the young season with a four-set win over California.
It marked the Coyotes third win ever in six matches against a team from the Pac-12 in a match that saw all four sets finish with identical 25-23 scores.
“We didn’t know what to expect coming in, we could have five fans here we could have a couple of hundred,” said senior Kristina Susak. “Just to see the crowd be so involved in the game, the atmosphere was incredible. For us to be able to provide them with energy and them to really feed of that is really awesome.”
Susak reached double digits in kills with 10 for the first time this season as South Dakota improved to 4-1 in front of 766 fans during the final match on the opening day of the South Dakota Classic.
“We have a really deep bench and that’s something that were very thankful for,” said Susak. “Coach Leanne (Williamson) has made us aware of like if you get the opportunity take it and run, there is no holding back. If you have a chance to be on the court, prove why you deserve to be out there and that’s what I did tonight.”
South Dakota was unable to hold onto a 23-21 lead in the first set, but that didn’t set the tone for the match as the hosts were able to pull out all three set wins after the set as tied at 23-23.
Hayley Dotseth, a senior, contributed a season-high 18 kills to spark the Coyotes while she also had 17 digs.
A California (4-1) error and a kill from junior Elizabeth Loschen evened the match at one-set apiece. Dotseth followed a Bears’ service error with a kill to close out the third set and Dotseth and Loschen recorded back-to-back kills in set four to clinch the match and the first Pac-12 win since beating Oregon State in 2016.
Loschen chipped in nine kills while Taylor Wilson had seven and Madison Jurgens six for a South Dakota team that had just 15 attack errors and 54 kills for a .252 hitting percentage.
Jurgens tallied 35 assists and libero Anne Rasmussen had 20 digs and the Coyotes came away with seven total blocks for the fifth match this season.
South Dakota closes out the South Dakota Classic with a Saturday Noon contest against Northern Colorado.
“I don’t know how well we’re going to sleep tonight to be honest,” Susak said. “Keeping that feeling and moving forward with it and understanding that that is not the standard we have set for ourselves.”