WINONA, MN -- The University of Sioux Falls jumped on Winona State early and were able to hold off the Warriors' comeback to notch their second NSIC road victory of the season, 25-23, 25-18, 21-25, 12-25, 15-11.

It is the second year in a row that the Cougars have defeated the Warriors on their home court.

The Cougars (14-12, 5-11 NSIC) hit .275 and edged the Warriors 25-23 in the opening frame with the help of five Emily Johnson kills and backed that up with a gaudy .367 clip in the 25-18 second set victory to take a confident lead into the locker room at intermission.

Winona State (18-8, 10-6 NSIC) would respond by taking the next two sets after some personnel changes on both sides. The Warriors won set three 25-21 and blitzed to a 25-12 victory in the fourth to force the decisive fifth set. After the score was tied 6-6 in the fifth, the Cougars would grab the momentum and score two straight points on a Johnson stab and WSU service error to move in front 8-6. USF maintained the lead and closed out the set 15-11 with a kill by Chanda Goedken.

Johnson paced the Cougars with 19 kills and 16 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Goedken also tallied her fifth double-dip of the year, chipping in 14 kills and 18 digs to go with three aces at the service line. Sarah Kohler contributed eight kills on a team-best .267 clip.

Sophomore middle blocker Samantha Lovell continued to be a force at the net, tossing up a team-high five block assists along with six kills.

The Warriors came out of the intermission and began applying more pressure to the Cougars with a stronger serve, resulting in a total of seven aces for the match, four in the fourth set alone. That pressure slowed USF’s offense with hitting percentages significantly lower than the first two sets.

USF played a total of 14 players in the match and Winona State had 12 Warriors see action. The Warriors saw Katie Froehle lead the offense with 16 kills on 39 swings for a .128 attack percentage.

The Cougars held the Warriors to a team hitting percentage of .154 despite being out-blocked 10-7.

The back row was strong for USF with junior libero Andrea Odbert joining Johnson and Goedken in double digit digs with 23. Junior setter Alexa Reed tallied 45 assists, three digs, a pair of kills, an ace and a block assist. Winona State’s libero, Maggie Finkel had an impressive showing with a match-high 29 digs on the day.

The Cougars will be in action on Thursday at Augustana College.

Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls