Coyotes set to face Denver in semifinal matchup


First Serve

South Dakota (27-3, 16-2 Summit) will face Denver in Friday’s 4 pm semifinal matchup inside Baxter Arena. The winner will advance to the Summit League Tournament Championship match on Saturday at 2 pm

The Coyotes

The regular season champions are the No. 1 seed in the Summit League Tournament and earned a first-round bye Thursday. The Coyotes are led by Summit League Coach of the Year leanne williamson, who led her squad to a 16-2 conference record and a 27-3 overall record. Williamson has led her team to three NCAA tournament berths in the last four years.

Summit League Player of the Year elizabeth johnke continues to lead the nation in kills with 634 on the season. Her de ella 15 kills in South Dakota’s home finale win over North Dakota made her the new Summit League record holder in single season kills. She is also USD’s all-time career kills leader with 1,961 kills and counting in her career. The Summit League Defensive Player of the Year Lolo Weideman leads the league in digs per set (4.65 per set). Middle blocker Madison Harms was just named to the all-Summit League team for the third time in her career. She recorded her de ella 500th Career block two weeks ago, making her just the second Coyote to reach that milestone. Harms is the school record holder in the rally scoring era in solo blocks, assisted blocks, and total blocks.

Ace junior setter brooklyn schram continues to recover from injury, freshman madi woodin has taken the reins at setter and settled in nicely. She put up a career-high 49 assists last Thursday against North Dakota State and has recorded six double-doubles in eight starts.

The Pioneers

Denver (19-11, 12-6 Summit) outlasted South Dakota State in a five-set battle on Thursday night to advance to the semifinal Friday. The Pioneers were led by a double-double from senior outside hitter Memphis Glasgow, who recorded 22 kills and 14 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Hailey Green had a career-high night for Denver with 32 kills, a new school record in Denver’s Division I era. Junior libero Gianna Bartalo set another school record for Denver with her career-high 40 digs. Sophomore setter Emma Ziegler also had a career-night for the Pioneers, notching 68 assists.

Earlier this week, senior middle blocker Brianna Green and senior setter Lorrin Poulter were named to the all-Summit first team. Green joins the all-Summit team for the second time in her career after leading the league in blocks per set this season. Poulter joins the all-Summit team for the first time in her career after becoming just the third player in Denver’s DI era to record at least 2,000 career assists and 100 aces. She tallied a career-high 1,040 assists in 28 matches before suffering a season-ending injury.

Series

South Dakota swept the regular season against the Pioneers, including a 3-2 reverse sweep in the most recent meeting on Oct. 20. This semifinal matchup marks the fifth time the Coyotes and Pioneers will meet in the Summit League Tournament. Twice South Dakota has defeated Denver in the championship match to advance to the NCAA tournament (2018 and 2020).

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