SIOUX FALLS, SD -- The University of Sioux Falls found itself down 2-0 early, but put together a spirited comeback to force a fifth set against visiting Upper Iowa on Saturday before ultimately falling 3-2 (22-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-23, 10-15).

The Cougars fell to 9-9 on the season with the setback (1-8, NSIC). Upper Iowa improved its season ledger to 10-7 (4-4, NSIC).

The Cougars were led on offense by a familiar pair, as senior Sarah Kohler (15 kills, .323 clip) and sophomore Emily Johnson (13 kills, six digs) were atop the team leaderboard. Sam Lovell chipped in 12 kills and three blocking assists while Chanda Goedken just missed a double-double, with 10 kills and nine digs.

Junior setter Alexa Reed notched her second straight double-dip, as she dished a career-high 56 assists to go along with 10 digs.

USF looked unsettled in the first set and found itself down early to UIU, 7-2. But once the Cougars got in sync and began running their offense, they fought back to tie the set at 11-11 with a huge kill by Lovell. The teams traded the next eight points before the Peacocks earned the sideout on a Cougar attack error and followed that with a kill to move in front 17-15. A Goedken kill trimmed the deficit to 17-16, but UIU would not relinquish the lead and held on for the 25-22 set win.

The Cougars went down again quickly in the second set, as the Peacocks strung together a pair of three-point runs to take a commanding 10-4 lead. USF rallied to get within one point at 12-11 after a UIU hitting error before a 7-2 spurt gave the Peacocks a comfortable six point cushion and they cruised to the 25-20 win.

USF came back strong in set three, jumping to a 6-3 lead with an ace by Natalie Minchow. The Peacocks scored three straight to tie the set at 6-all. The set was tied eight more times before Johnson posted back-to-back kills to clinch the set for USF at 26-24.

The fourth set was just as tight, with 10 ties and neither squad was able to grasp more than a three point lead. After a Minchow kill tied the frame at 19, she went to the service line and led the Cougars to three straight points to take the 22-19 lead. From that point, USF fought off UIU to take the set 25-23.

UIU blasted to a 7-2 lead to begin the final and deciding set, but USF was not done and whittled the lead down to 10-9 on a kill by Kohler. The Cougars would get no closer, however, dropping the match with a 15-10 decision.

USF will travel to Minnesota, Crookston on Friday, Oct. 12 (7 p.m.).

Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls