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USD opens NIVC with win over Central Michigan

Sports

VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) – South Dakota overcame a first-set loss and defeated Central Michigan in the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championships on Thursday inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

The Coyotes, now 28-2, moved to 11-0 on the season at home, pushing their home-court win streak to 15 with a 20-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-19 victory over the Chippewas, the MAC West Division Co-Champions.

“It was really great to be at home again, great to be in front of our fans,” coach Leanne Williamson said. “That definitely gave us a big push when we needed it tonight.”

A balanced offensive attack with six Coyotes with at least five kills led the way for a team that had 61 kills in the four-set win.

Elizabeth Juhnke had 16 kills, Sami Slaughter 12 kills while Maddie Wiedenfeld matched her season and career-high with 11 kills. Elizabeth Loschen chipped in nine kills, Madison Harms had seven and Madison Jurgens matched her season-high with five.

Jurgens contributed 49 assists and 10 digs for her 17th double-double of the season.

Defensively, South Dakota limited Central Michigan to a .105 team hitting percentage while its 84 digs were the second-most in a single match this season.

Anne Rasmussen had 27 digs while Lolo Weideman matched her career-high with 16 digs.

“One of the biggest things we did well was we played defense,” said Williamson. “You saw some balls drop early on that we don’t normally let drop and our team took that as a really good challenge and made a change.

“Anne was really, really good tonight and Lolo came up with some really big plays when we needed her too. It was almost like we had two libero’s on the court which was nice to see. We built off of that with our defense and our block got better. We got more disciplined in that area, we slowed their hitters down which allowed us obviously to play at a higher level offensively on the back end.”

Harms tallied one solo block and eight assisted blocks in the match as the Coyotes registered 15 total team blocks, second most in a match this season.

South Dakota hosts UNLV on Friday at 2 p.m. in Round Two of the 32-team NIVC.

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