BY MICHAEL HAMMOND | Yankton Press & Dakotan
Sept. 30, 2016 | USD 3, NDSU 0
VERMILLION, S.D. — Audrey Reeg recorded a game-high 20 kills to lift the South Dakota Coyotes over the North Dakota State Bison 25-16, 25-17, 26-24, in Summit League volleyball action at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center in Vermillion on Friday.
Reeg had six kills in the first set, seven in the second, and passed Michelle Hesse (1,036) for eighth on the career-kills list, with seven in the third for 1,039 in her career. Reeg improved upon her second ranked 3.63 kills per set in the Summit League with a 6.67 mark.
“She really came out swinging today and I think she came out with a lot of confidence,” USD coach Leanne Williamson said. “She was finding ways to kind of move their defense around and get them frustrated.
“She had a great game and we are going to continue to need that down the stretch.”
The Coyotes battled the Bison to a 15-14 lead before rattling off seven-straight points, including kills from five different players, to run away and win the set 25-16. Rachel Schmidt was behind Reeg with four kills in the set, while Lindsey Brown and Elizabeth Loschen added three apiece.
In the second, USD dropped the first two points of the set before building their biggest lead of the set at 14-5 and didn’t let NDSU back within more than six points, en route to a 25-17 set win. The Coyotes notched four blocks and Schmidt added four more kills in the second.
“Sets one and two we controlled the match,” Williamson said. “Set three they responded very well, but what’s cool about this team is that we were pushed in the third set and we have not been pushed yet like that and they responded in a good way.”
The third set was the closest with neither team leading by more than three points. NDSU reached set point at 24-23, but Williamson called a timeout for USD and the team responded with three straight points to win the match. Schmidt’s eight kills was a team-high in the set, including a pair down the stretch.
“We were just thinking that we were down and we just had to keep battling point after point,” Schmidt said. “I was just thinking to go up and be aggressive, keep the ball in play for my teammates, and if I got a kill, I got a kill.”
Williamson told her team to keep attacking during the timeout and Reeg’s 20th dig sparked the 3-0 run that ended in a Brittany Jessen block to win the match.
“We talked about continuing to fight,” Williamson said. “Not backing off at all, continuing to attack, and we knew we would have to defend multiple balls in a rally.”
With the win, the Coyotes are 14-2 on the season and 3-0 in Summit League play. They remain undefeated in the new SCSC at 4-0.
“We are in a really good spot.” Schmidt said. “It is very different than in past years and we are really happy with the momentum that we have gained.”
Behind Reeg, Schmidt finished with 14 kills. Jessen led the game with 43 assists and tied Brown with a game-high 1.5 blocks. Libero, Lauren Mattison, led the all players with 15 digs.
Kelly Law landed on her knee funny during the second set and went into the locker room with ice on her knee in between sets, before being held out of the third as a precaution. The injury does not appear to be serious according to Williamson.
For NDSU, Hadley Steffen was tops with 12 kills and Emily Miron added 10. Brianna Rasmusson led with 31 assists. Mikaela Purnell recorded a team-high 12 digs.
South Dakota will hit the road on Sunday to play South Dakota State in Brookings before returning to the SCSC against IUPUI next Friday.