Omaha drops four-setter to South Dakota

Photo by Dayna Berry

Matthew Norrie

The South Dakota Coyotes were in Omaha over the weekend to take on the Mavericks at Baxter Arena. Bella Sade, Abby Bergsten, Sydney O’Shaughnessy, Anna Blaschko, Mackenzie Horkey, and Kelli Nee started for the Mavs in the opening set. The Coyotes went up early by going on a 4-0 run. UNO got a kill to get on the board, but the Coyotes quickly replied. The two teams continued point for point for the first third of the set until the Mavericks tied it up at 11.

Head Coach Rose Shires called a timeout as South Dakota appeared to be making a break with an 16- 18 lead over UNO. The Mavericks came out of the timeout with a vengeance, scoring two in a row to tie. With the game tied, the Mavericks carried on a long volley with several attempted kills and digs, but composure by the Mavericks proved vital as an error by the Coyotes put UNO in front 19-18. UNO remained on top, ultimately winning the opening set 25-20.

UNO was off to a better start in the second set going up 7-3. South Dakota started a rally that went uninterrupted until Maverick Amanda Conlin got a kill to keep UNO within one of the Coyotes. South Dakota kept their offense moving, with help from their defense at the net, took the second set 20-25.

The third set, much like the first set, was a slow start for UNO. South Dakota went up 1-5 and fought off several rallies by UNO. The Mavs dug themselves into a hole with a 7-16 score, but did not give up. They rallied back to 17-19 but South Dakota fended them off and won the set 20-25.

The fourth set didn’t bring any more luck for UNO as South Dakota remained consistent and got up early. UNO struggled to keep up and were down 7-13. South Dakota’s defense at the net remained rock solid, and stopped several attempted UNO rallies. The Mavericks were within reach of victory at 20-22, but South Dakota prevailed winning the final set 21-25. South Dakota won the match three sets to one.

Shires made note that statistically, the game was fairly even but South Dakota’s execution made the difference in the end. “You’re at the top of the conference, and you’re playing the top of the conference, everybody wants to win so you can’t afford a three or four-point run against you,” Shires said.

Looking toward the next game and what steps the Mavericks need to take to turn close games into wins, Shires said, “The steps are just continuing to recognize and accept the pressure of the moment and then playing big in the pressure of the moment whether you’re a freshman or a senior on the team. I think everybody has the opportunity to improve in that area.”

UNO’s biggest problem the past few games has been stopping multiple point runs and finishing rallies. Coach Shires will be looking to put her plan into action next Friday against North Dakota State in another Summit League road game for UNO.