Jacks fall to Coyotes in four-set battle


Joclyn Haven

The SDSU volleyball team huddles together during a Summit League volleyball game earlier this season.

Brayden Byers, Sports Reporter

The South Dakota State volleyball team matched up with in-state rival South Dakota Friday night in the South Dakota Showdown Series, eventually losing in four sets to the Coyotes.

In a fierce atmosphere in enemy territory, the Jackrabbits were looking to end its four-game losing streak. And things looked good for the Jackrabbits after the first set

Following a 25-18 first-set victory, the Jacks also took the Coyotes to the brink in set two. But with SDSU leading 24 to 23 in the second set, an attack error from Crystal Burk tied it up at 24, forcing extra serves.

The rest of the set was anything but unconventional with six total ties.

Knotted up at 30, South Dakota pulled away from the Jackrabbits in the end with a block by Evelyn Diederich and Madison Harms. Diederich finished things off with a kill off an assist from Madi Woodin.

Tied at one set apiece after the 32-30 win in the second set, USD would go on to win out in the rest of the match with final scores of 25-17 and 25-21.

Despite losing in four sets, the Jacks won more total points in the match, 72-67, had the edge in service aces 6-3, and totaled more blocks (10-8). Both teams totaled 56 digs in the match and the Coyotes held a slight edge in assists 55-53.

In front of the second-largest crowd to witness a volleyball game in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center, fans were treated to a display of excellent attacking.

There were 138 total attacks between the standouts from either team. USD’s Elizabeth Juhnke, who leads the nation in kills, totaled 71 in the game while Burk, who is seventh in the country in that category, had 67.

With her 67 attacks, Burk is now SDSU’s career attacks leader passing former Jackrabbit Kristina Martin. Burk sits at 4,464.

Burk also finished with four blocks and 14 digs while Juhnke also performed on the defensive side recording 18 digs and two blocks.

Ella Thompson matched her career best in kills with 14 and had a career-high 33 attacks. She also led SDSU in blocks with five. Elyse Winter finished with seven kills and Sydney Andrews had five. Reagen Reilly and Carly Wedel led the team in assists with 27 and 21 respectively.

With this loss, the Jacks will drop their fifth match in a row and fall to 10-13 overall on the season. Their 4-7 mark in conference play currently has them sitting sixth in the Summit League. USD sits atop the Summit League standings with a 10-1 conference record. They also have an impressive 21-2 overall record on the season.

The Jacks will play one more final match away from Brookings Tuesday when they head to Fargo to face North Dakota State at 7 p.m.