OMAHA, NEBRASKA – South Dakota’s historic postseason came to an end come to an end as they fell in five sets to Houston in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday afternoon inside D.J. Sokol Arena. Game scores went 25-14, 25-19, 18-25, 23-25, 15-11. 

Elizabeth Juhnke recorded her 2,000th career kill in the match and is just the fourth Summit League player to reach that milestone. She recorded a team-high 17 kills before an injury in set four forced her to exit the match. Evelyn Diederich stepped in and had three kills with no errors to hit .375. Madison Harms tallied 12 kills with just two errors for a .417 hitting clip while adding six blocks. 

Houston (29-3) had a match-high 21 kills from Kennedy Warren, who also added 11 digs to record a double-double. Libero Kate Georgiades was one of three Cougars to put up double-digit digs with a match-high 29 digs. 

Set one saw Houston come out firing from all angles, hitting .516 as a squad with 17 kills and just one error. The Coyotes shook off the first-set jitters and fought back in set two, coming within four at 25-19. South Dakota’s hitting clip improved to .300 in set two and the momentum started to shift. Sets three and four were the ultimate momentum shift for the Yotes. They came out swinging in set three and took a big 15-6 lead to force a Houston timeout. The Cougars were able to come within four at 19-15, but South Dakota’s heavy block held Houston to a .093 hitting clip. Set four was a back-and-forth battle that saw five tie scores and two lead changes. Juhnke’s exit from the match, trailing 11-15, spurred the Coyotes to fight and Diederich came in and immediately put down her first kill. Set five was another battle until a 10-10 tie before Houston scored four unanswered points to take a 14-10 lead. Kylen Sealock put down her eighth kill to come within three before a kill from Kellen Morin finished the match. 

Notable 

  • Juhnke’s 17 kills brought her career total to 2,004, making her the lone member of the Coyote’s 2,000 kill club and just the fourth player in Summit League history to reach the milestone. 
  • In her last collegiate match, Aimee Adams recorded six kills, three digs, and two blocks for the Yotes. 
  • Sealock followed with eight kills and four digs. 
  • Lolo Weideman put up a team-high 20 digs in her last collegiate match while Madi Woodin added 13 digs to compliment her match-high 38 assists. 

Quotable 

“This has been an incredible year and the girls should be so proud of themselves,” said head coach Leanne Williamson. “They made history this season and they have worked hard to elevate the level of this program. I am so proud of them.” 

A Record-Breaking Season 

In the division one era, this Coyote squad broke three team records as the season concludes: solo blocks (89), total blocks (316.5), and service aces (192). South Dakota won a set in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in its four appearances.