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Coyotes win five set nail-biter with Denver

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DENVER, Colo. (USD) – South Dakota showed tremendous resiliency in pulling out a five set Summit League victory over Denver at Hamilton Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon.

The Coyotes, the lone team to beat Denver on its home floor a year ago, turned the tables again early in the Summit League season this year by rallying from a 2-1 set deficit to win the match, 25-23, 11-25, 20-25, 25-16, 15-13.

“This was a really good road win for us,” coach Leanne Williamson said. “Denver plays really well on their home floor, so it was good to see us respond and find a way to come out with a win.”

South Dakota, playing a three match in five-day stretch, has won back-to-back five-set matches in moving to 15-1 with its 12th straight win. The Coyotes are the lone remaining unbeaten in Summit League play at 4-0 heading into Tuesday’s road match at South Dakota State.

Elizabeth Juhnke had 15 kills and Sami Slaughter 10 as South Dakota prevailed despite its lowest team hitting percentage match of the season at 0.84.

Elizabeth Loschen and Maddie Wiedenfeld had eight kills apiece for the Coyotes, who once again defensively limited an opponent to under .200 team hitting percentage for the 11th time during the 12-match win streak. Denver, despite having 10 more team kills than South Dakota, had only a .078 team hitting percentage in the match.

Conversely, the Coyotes also came thru with blocking at the net with a season-high 18 total team blocks. Wiedenfeld had four solo and two assisted blocks while Sami Slaughter and Claire Gerdes chipped in five assisted blocks in the win.

“We blocked the ball enough to make their hitters think more, which forced them into some errors,” said Williamson. “They are a good serving team and can generate runs really quickly.

“We didn’t always handle that the best, but got better with that in the fourth and fifth sets. Claire came in and did a really good job defensively for us which we needed at that time. The team continues to be resilient in tough situations and we need to continue that going forward.”

Madison Jurgens contributed 30 assists and 11 digs while Anne Rasmussen paced the back row for South Dakota with 21 digs. Lolo Weideman had a season-high 15 digs and Juhnke chipped in 12 digs.

First serve on Tuesday inside Frost Arena in Brookings is 7 p.m.

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