SUMMIT VOLLEYBALL SEMIS-USD outlasts SDSU in five set classic

Coyotes defeat Jackrabbits for 14th straight time & return to Tournament Championship
Coyotes win five set thriller
Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 11:14 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

The Basics

Score: No. 2 South Dakota, No. 6 South Dakota StateRecords: South Dakota (19-9, 15-3 SL), South Dakota State (19-12, 10-8 SL)  Location: The Sanford Coyote Sports Center– Vermillion, S.D.

No. 2 seed South Dakota outlasted in-state rival and No. 6 seed South Dakota State 3-2 to win Friday’s second semifinal of the 2021 Summit League Volleyball Championship at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.

The Coyotes persevered in what was the first postseason meeting between the rivals at the Division I level, but it almost did not happen. USD let three potential match points slip away in the fourth set and overcame a trio of match points by the Jackrabbits to win the decisive set, 18-16, on their home court.     

In the first set, South Dakota State built a 14-7 advantage only to see South Dakota rally to close within a point at 19-18. From there, the Jackrabbits reeled off the next four points to take the momentum back. SDSU would eventually post a 25-20 behind four kills from Chloe Stitt.In the second set, South Dakota opened with a 6-1 run, but SDSU was the one to stage a rally, eventually taking a 9-8 lead. The Coyotes would have an answer though and used five blocks to register the 25-18 victory and even things at one set a piece.After the third set was tied at 10-10, the Coyotes went on a 7-0 spurt and led 23-14 before the Jackrabbits made things interesting.

SDSU would rattled off six straight points to make it a 23-20 contest, but USD would get the final two points to gain a 2-1 lead in the match. Madison Jurgens, who had 38 assists through the first three sets, finished off that third set 25-20 with her first kill of the match.

The Coyotes looked to be poised to finish things up in four sets, but the Jackrabbits were trying to make their first appearance in the postseason event since 2010 a memorable one as they rallied from a 24-21 deficit to score five straight and force a decisive fifth set.

Senior Crystal Burk had key back-to-back kills during that stretch to keep SDSU’s upset bid alive. It was almost deja vu for the Coyotes in the fifth set. The tournament hosts led 13-10 in the final set before SDSU rallied and had three chances to become the first No. 6 seed to reach the title game before USD rallied. Elizabeth Juhnke hammered home her 23rd kill of the match to even things at 16-16 and the Coyotes were able to prevail after back-to-back attack errors by the Jackrabbits.

Who Stood Out

  • USD’s Elizabeth Juhnke registered a match-high 23 kills and added 16 digs to post her 16th double-double of the season and fifth straight. Juhnke’s 20-plus kills marked the fifth time she reached that plateau this year.
  • USD’s Madison Harms added 13 kills on only 23 swings to register a .522 hitting percentage.
  • SDSU’s Crystal Burk paced the Jackrabbits with 15 kills and added 14 digs to register her 16th double-double of the season.
  • USD’s Madison Jurgens had 50 assists for the Coyotes, who outhit the Jackrabbits .224 to .171.
  • SDSU graduate transfer Chloe Stitt had 13 kills and 11 digs to post her ninth double-double of the season and second consecutive in the tournament.

Turning Point

  • Trailing 16-15 in the fifth set, Elizabeth Juhnke recorded her 23rd kill of the match and the Coyotes took advantage of back-to-back attack errors by the Jackrabbits to win the decisive fifth set, 18-16.


  • South Dakota will be making its third appearance in the title match in the last four years and won its first title in 2018 and also won the 2020 title this past spring.
  • This marks the first time South Dakota and South Dakota State played in The Summit League Tournament.
  • South Dakota State was making its first appearance in the postseason event since 2010 and the Jackrabbits’ bid to become the first No. 6 seed to reach the final came up just short.

Up Next

Second-seeded South Dakota will face top-seeded Omaha in the 2021 #SummitVB Championship match Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.

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