VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) — South Dakota returned to the Sanford Coyote Sports Center and earned a sweep over Bradley 25-17, 25-20, 27-25 to begin the South Dakota Classic on Thursday evening.
The Coyotes had five players record at least six kills while the team produced a season-best .327 hitting percentage in the match.
“It’s a lot simpler to start a tournament in that way (with a win at home),” coach Leanne Williamson said. “It feels like a long time since we have been playing in front of our fans. Having almost 800 fans here on a Thursday night is amazing. That support we know that it’s pretty special for us and gives us a ton of energy.”
Sami Slaughter led the Coyotes with 13 kills and hit .344 on the night while Elizabeth Juhnke added 11 kills and contributed 12 digs. Madison Harms provided a spark in the middle in her season debut with eight kills and only one error for a .438 hitting percentage.
Aimee Adams chipped in eight kills, including six in the third set, while Maddie Wiedenfeld added six kills and Madison Jurgens three.
South Dakota held a narrow 15-14 lead in the first set before closing on a 10-3 run that included kills from Wiedenfeld, Jurgens, Slaughter, Juhnke and Harms.
Bradley held a narrow 18-17 lead in the second set before the Coyotes rallied to go up 20-19 and eventual win the set 25-20 on a pair of Juhnke kills.
South Dakota had to face some adversity in the third set after racing out to a 14-5 lead before Bradley responded and eventually had its own set point at 24-23 and 25-24. The Coyotes staved off both set points and closed the match getting kills from Juhnke, Slaughter and Adams.
Jurgens contributed 36 assists and eight digs while libero Lolo Weideman had 12 digs and six assists.
“It makes a big difference playing in front of our home crowd and then being able to get our first win of the season,” said Williamson. “I know last weekend was tough for us. But being able to be back home and getting that win here I think is important.
“Having to face some adversity in that third set, being down, you know them having set points at one point in time and it says a lot about this team. I think we learned a lot even from that first weekend with some of the adversity that we faced.”
The Coyotes will face Central Arkansas at Noon on Friday and Milwaukee at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.