ONE & DONE: USD & SDSU bounced from Summit League Volleyball Tournament in Vermillion

SDSU swept by Denver, host & three-time defending tournament champion USD stunned in five sets by NDSU
SDSU swept by Denver, host USD upset by NDSU in five sets
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 11:39 PM CST
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No. 3 seed Denver swept No. 6 seed South Dakota State in the opening quarterfinal of th 2023 #SummitVB Championship at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center Sunday. Cassie Davis led all players with 13 kills and three aces as the Pioneers advanced to play No. 2 seed Omaha Monday at 4 p.m. CT.

The Pioneers took the opening set 25-20 behind six kills from Ava Reynods as DU hit .395 while holding the Jackrabbits to a .212 clip.

In the second set, SDSU jumped out a 6-2 advantage before the Pioneers responded with a 5-0 run to take their first lead on a kill from MacKenzie Fidelak. From there, the teams would go back-and-forth until DU used a 7-2 spurt to break a 9-9 tally and take control of a set the Pioneers would eventually win 25-21.

The third set belonged to the Pioneers, who started with a 5-1 stretch and would lead by as many as 12 at 18-6. Davis would cap the sweep for the Pioneers with her team-leading 13th kill as they finished things out with a 25-15 victory.

Sylvie Zgonc, who was named the Summit League Freshman of the Year, led the Jackrabbits will 11 kills but DU limited SDSU to a .144 hitting percentage throughout the three sets.

Who Stood Out

Davis had six of her match-high 13 kills in the opening set and added a match-high three aces as the Pioneers won a quarterfinal match over SDSU for the second consecutive season. Ava Reynolds added nine kills while Briley Decker helped set up those swings with 28 assists. Decker and Cadi Boyer each added five block assists in the victory.

Turning Point

After Elyse Winter gave SDSU its first lead of the opening set at 16-15 after a solo block, the Pioneers scored six straight points to cease momentum and win the opening set 25-20. DU overcame a shaky start to the second set, using a 5-0 run to erase a 6-2 deficit and never relinquish control as they swept the Jackrabbits for the second time this season.


  • This is the third consecutive tournament that Denver and South Dakota State met in the quarterfinals. The sixth-seeded Jackrabbits defeated the third-seeded Pioneers in five sets in 2021, while fourth-seeded DU beat fifth-seeded SDSU last season in five sets.
  • DU has advanced to the semifinals in 10 of 11 Summit League Tournament appearances and have made the championship match in eight of those.
  • Denver won all three meetings with the Jackrabbits, including taking both of the regular season matches - winning 3-1 in Brookings and sweep SDSU at home.

Up Next

The Pioneers will meet second-seeded Omaha at 4 p.m. CT Monday in the Monday’s first semifinal.


No. 5 seed North Dakota State rallied to knock out No. 4 seed and tournament host South Dakota in five sets to advance to the semifinals of the 2023 #SummitVB Championship at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. The Bison won the opening set but the Coyotes appeared to take control of the match by taking the second and third sets.

NDSU found a way to force a decisive fifth set by claiming a 25-23 victory in set No. 4 then dominated the last stanza 15-7. The Bison hit .500 in the final stretch and got three pivotal kills from Alexis Boling down the stretch and got the closing point from Ali Hinze as those two combined for 30 kills in the victory.

NDSU controlled the first set early on, racing out to a 5-1 lead and owning a 15-9 advantage before the Coyotes settled in. South Dakota would come all the way back, squaring things at 19-19 but the Coyotes could never take the lead as they dropped the opener 29-27. Boling had five kills on her first five swings of the match to finish with 13.

South Dakota dominated play in the second set, hitting .346 while holding the Bison to a negative clip at -.115. Evelyn Diederich, who finished with a career-high 14 kills for the Coyotes, had back-to-back kills to push their advantage to 12-6 in a set USD would lead by as many as 12 at 21-9 before finishing it off 25-15.

The Coyotes cruised through the third set as well, closing it out 25-17 after hitting .303 and holding the Bison to .000 attack percentage. NDSU had only four attack errors in the opening set but combined for 17 over the next two as South Dakota took the lead at 2-1.

The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair with NDSU eventually forcing a fifth set when it prevailed 25-23 on an attack error by Diederich. The teams were tied at 13-13 and exchanged points until Lauren Jansen put the Bison ahead 23-21 on a kill.

Who Stood Out

Setter of the Year Kelley Johnson had 49 assists, 17 digs and four kills for the Bison. Hinze, a All-Summit League first team performer, led NDSU with 17 kills and added 13 digs to post her 18th double-double of the season. Boling (13) and Jansen (10) joined Hinze in double-figure kills. Kylen Sealock led all players with 18 kills as four Coyotes reached double figures in kills. Diederich added 14 while Summit Player of the Year Madison Harms had 13 and Brynn Paumen posted 10. Sealock added 11 digs to post her 10th double-double of the season.

Turning Point

Freshman Lauren Jansen closed out the fourth set with her 10th kill of the match to force a fifth set that the Bison closed on a 9-2 to run to take 15-7.


  • South Dakota had won three consecutive Summit League Tournaments with their last loss coming in the 2019 semifinals against Denver.
  • NDSU advanced to the semifinals for the second consecutive season.
  • NDSU hit .444 in the opening set with only four attack errors but combined for 17 attack errors in sets two and three.
  • Harms broke the all-time Summit League record for career blocks with her fourth of the match. She finished with five to leave her career total at 664 to move past Buffalo’s Kathy Brinkworth, who had 662 for the Bulls (1994-97).
  • USD senior Evelyn Diederich registered a career-high 14 kills in the contest.

Up Next

The Bison will meet top-seeded Kansas City at 7 p.m. CT in Monday’s second semifinal.