SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (USD) – South Dakota outside hitter Elizabeth Juhnke was selected as The Summit League Volleyball Player of the Year in a vote by the league’s head coaches after leading the Coyotes to a 16-2 league record and their third regular season title during the program’s Division I era. Juhnke becomes the fourth Coyote to take home the league’s top individual honor and the first since Hayley Dotseth in 2018.
Juhnke, who earned a League-record eight TicketSmarter Summit League Offensive Peak Performer of the Week honors this season, topped the charts in kills per set (5.70), total kills (399), points per set (6.34), total points (444) and tied for fifth in hitting percentage (.316) in 18 League matches. She notched 20-plus double-figure kills in 10 of the 18 League matches including a League-record 39-kill outing at North Dakota State.
The Lakeville, Minn., native recorded 16 double-doubles in League competition and also broke a League record for the most kills in a single season with 634. That kill total and her 709 total points both lead all Division I players, while her 5.42 kills per set and 6.06 points per set sit second in the country. The Coyote junior also became USD’s all-time program leader in career kills, entering the postseason with 1,961.
The North Dakota State offense is guided by senior Kelley Johnson, who secured the Setter of the Year award. Johnson became the third Bison to claim that honoree and first since her current head coach Jennifer Lopez in 2011. The Eagan, Minn., native sits atop the League in total assists (810) and second in assists per set (11.10). She reached the 50-assist mark three times in League action and recorded 13 double-doubles this season.
South Dakota senior Lolo Weideman was named the Defensive Player of the Year becoming the second Coyote to earn the accolade and the first since Anne Rasmussen went back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. She sits first in the league in digs per set (4.93) and total digs (345) in League action. Weideman has notched 20-plus digs in nine matches this season and twice surpassed 30-plus digs, including a career-high 34-dig effort in a four-set home win against Denver. Weideman anchors a defense for a team that ranks second in the league in opponent hitting percentage at .158.
Omaha’s Kali Jurgensmeier claimed Freshman of the Year honors after an impressive rookie campaign. She became the third Maverick to claim the honor and first since Sydney Case in 2018. The Maverick newcomer helped lead the offensive efforts as she topped all first-year players with 175 kills in League play. She ranks eighth overall with a .300 hitting percentage and averaged 2.61 kills per set. Jurgensmeier has posted two 13-kill performances this season, including most recently in the Mavericks’ four-set win over Denver in the regular season finale.
South Dakota’s Leanne Williamson secured her third Coach of the Year award and first since 2019 after guiding the Coyotes to their third Summit League regular season title. Her squad clinched the crown after securing a series sweep over Oral Roberts during Veterans Day weekend. South Dakota went 16-2 in League play and 27-3 overall and enters the Championship seeking its third straight postseason trophy.
The All-League first team is made up of Juhnke, Weideman, Johnson and that trio is joined by Denver’s Brianna Green (1.37 bps/.289 hitting) and Lorrin Poulter (11.15 aps/0.48 saps/0.67 bps), North Dakota State’s Michelle Artis (2.70 kps/.360 hitting/1.01 bps), Alli Hinze (3.84 kps/.249 hitting/3.12 dps/0.26 saps) and Syra Tanchin (3.67 kps/.256 hitting), Omaha’s Shayla McCormick (3.83 kps/.245 hitting/0.46 saps/2.99 dps) and McKenna Ruch (1.04 bps/2.84 kps/.357 hitting), South Dakota’s Madison Harms (1.39 bps/2.23 kps/.317 hitting) and South Dakota State’s Crystal Burk (4.68 kps/.268 hitting/0.32 saps/3.24 dps).
Honorable mention accolades went to Kansas City’s Odyssey Warren (3.49 kps/0.26 saps), North Dakota’s Elizabeth Norris (2.16 kps/2.43 dps), Omaha’s Marriah Buss (3.54 kps/.252 hitting) and Sami Clarkson (1.98 dps) and Oral Roberts’ Kaia Dunford (3.33 kps) and Kalena Vaivai (2.59 dps/8.37 aps/0.39 saps).
Jurgensmeir landed on The Summit League All-Freshman team and was joined by Kansas City’s Kimora Whetstone (0.76 bps), North Dakota’s Paige Barber (1.70 kps/1.83 pps), North Dakota State’s Ally Barth (0.90 bps/.289 hitting), St. Thomas’ Emma Goerger (0.95 bps/.224 hitting) and Tezra Rudzitis (2.40 kps), and South Dakota State’s Masa Scheierman (2.52 kps/3.11 pps).
Six of the league’s 10 teams will embark on Omaha Thursday through Saturday for The Summit League Volleyball Championship. The action starts Thanksgiving Day at 4 p.m. CT when No. 4 Denver takes on No. 5 South Dakota State inside Baxter Arena. All five matches will be streamed on www.thesummitleague.org/watch with Kienan Dixon calling the quarterfinal matches while the semifinals and championship match will be called by Tom Nieman and Hayley (Dotseth) Greenfield and televised on Midco Sports and streamed on Midco Sports Plus.
Player of the Year
Elizabeth Juhnke, South Dakota
Defensive Player of the Year
Lolo Weideman, South Dakota
Setter of the Year
Kelley Johnson, North Dakota State
Freshman of the Year
Kali Jurgensmeier, Omaha
Coach of the Year
Leanne Williamson, South Dakota
2022 All-Summit League Volleyball Team
Michelle Artis, North Dakota State, MB
Crystal Burk, South Dakota State, OH
Brianna Green, Denver, MB
Madison Harms, South Dakota, MB
Ali Hinze, North Dakota State, OH
Kelley Johnson, North Dakota State, S
Elizabeth Juhnke, South Dakota, OH
Shayla McCormick, Omaha, OH
Lorrin Poulter, Denver, S
McKenna Ruch, Omaha, MB
Syra Tanchin, North Dakota State, OH
Lolo Weideman, South Dakota, DS
Marriah Buss, Omaha, OH
Sami Clarkson, Omaha, S
Kaia Dunford, Oral Roberts, OH
Elizabeth Norris, North Dakota, S
Kalena Vaivai, Oral Roberts, S
Odyssey Warren, Kansas City, OH
Ally Barth, North Dakota State, MB
Paige Barber, North Dakota, OH
Emma Goerger, St. Thomas, MB
Kali Jurgensmeier, Omaha, OH
Tezra Ruduzitis, St. Thomas, OH
Masa Scheierman, South Dakota State, OH
Kimora Whetstone, Kansas City, MB