GRAND FORKS, N.D. (USD) – Head coach Leanne Williamson earned her 200th career win as South Dakota (8-7, 2-2 Summit) defeated North Dakota in five sets inside the Betty Englestad Sioux Center Thursday night. Game scores went 19-25, 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 18-16.
Who Stood Out
Freshman outside hitter Samantha Laird tallied a career-high 13 kills for the Coyotes, including the big kill that would secure the five-set victory for South Dakota. Madison Harms and Kylen Sealock each added match-highs of 14 kills apiece for the Yotes, with Harms adding seven blocks with two solo blocks. Sealock recorded a career-high and match-high 21 digs while adding a career-high three service aces. That makes Sealock’s fifth double-double of the season.
North Dakota (5-12, 2-3 Summit) had a heavy offensive attack led by middle blocker Marissa Stockman, who recorded a double-double with 13 kills and 10 blocks. Stockman had just three errors in 21 attempts to hit a match-high .476. Outside hitter Paige Barber followed with 12 kills and McCallister Gayle added 11 kills and six blocks. Libero Izzie McCormick put together a great defensive effort from the back line with 20 digs and two service aces.
It was a five-set battle indeed tonight as both teams traded runs and shifted the momentum between either side. In a game of runs, neither side could hold an extensive lead for long. After four sets of multiple runs for either side, set five came down to the final wire. True to the tune of the match, South Dakota came out strong to start set five, taking an early 3-0 lead on two big blocks from Harms in the middle. McCormick would step back to the service line for the Fighting Hawks and serve three straight points to tie the set at 4-4. UND took advantage of that momentum and used Stockman’s huge presence at the net to take an 8-6 lead and initiate the side switch. The Fighting Hawks jumped out to an 11-8 lead on a kill from Barber and forced a USD timeout. Sealock came out of the timeout swinging, tallying her 11th and 12th kills of the match to bring the Yotes within two at 10-12 and encourage a UND timeout. Sealock put down a kill out of a South Dakota timeout that would bring USD within two once again and send her back to service line. Back-to-back kills from Harms gave the Yotes a 15-14 lead. In trend with the rest of the match, the Yotes and the Fighting Hawks traded match points, with USD surviving three UND match points, before an overpass from North Dakota set up Laird to slam home the winning kill.
- Freshman setter Avery Van Hook had a match-high 40 assists, five kills, eight digs, and two blocks for the Yotes.
- Sophomore libero Kamryn Farris put up 20 digs from the back line for the Yotes and added two service aces. Farris served the last two points for the Coyotes.
- Through five sets, there were 28 tie scores and 16 lead changes.
- Senior Mattie Johnson tallied 10 digs for South Dakota, recording her fourth double-digit dig match.
“It was an incredible back-and-forth battle for us tonight, and I thought we stayed composed,” said head coach Leanne Williamson. “We’ve been here before; we’ve been in other five-set matches where we’ve had to come from behind and I think that experience helped us out tonight.”
South Dakota heads to Fargo, N.D. to take on North Dakota State on Saturday at 1 p.m.