SIOUX FALLS, SD -- The University of Sioux Falls volleyball team (9-5, 1-4) earned its first-ever Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win with a three-set sweep (25-22, 25-19, 25-16) over St. Cloud State (6-7, 1-4) Saturday afternoon at the Stewart Center.

“We’re not going to take anything lightly in this league; when we get a win we’re going to celebrate and today we have a reason to do that,” USF head coach Joel McCartney said. “It was just getting that first win that was so important but also how we won today that we are so exceptionally proud of,” he added.

The Cougars out-hit the Huskies .372-.079 and held SCSU to a -.105 attack percentage in the third set.

Senior and Lincoln product Sarah Kohler led the Cougars with 12 kills on 17 swings for a .529 hitting clip. She was followed by sophomore Emily Johnson, who posted an identical .529 attack percentage with 10 kills on 17 attempts with just one error.

“I’m very proud of those two and especially Sarah Kohler’s leadership today,” McCartney said.

USF’s player of the match was certainly senior Chanda Goedken, who did a little bit of everything for the Cougars. Goedken posted five kills, one assist, two service aces, five digs and a match-high five blocking assists.

Sophomore middle blocker Samantha Lovell hit .385 for the contest with six kills on 13 attempts.

The Cougar offense was steered by the outstanding play of junior setter Alexa Reed, who tallied 34 assists.

“Alexa is this consummate working bee, she wants to get in the gym all the time and study the systems,” McCartney said. “She’s a thinker and a perfectionist and the kind of setter that will drive you crazy, but at the same time I love her so much and it’s just been a great connection so far.”

Defensively, junior Andrea Odbert anchored the back row with nine digs while the net defense outblocked the visiting Huskies 8-4.

For SCSU, Rachel Burke put up a team-high nine kills while Ellie Dietzen added six. Erin Ohlemann passed out 21 assists and Brianne Stamer posted five digs.

The first set stayed tight as it featured five ties in the first 18 points. With the set tied at nine, the Huskies strung together four straight points on two kills and a pair of aces to move in front 13-9. The Cougars rallied to tie the frame at 14-all with kills by Johnson and Kohler coupled with two Husky attack errors. After three more ties, USF took an 18-17 lead after an SCSU attack error and didn’t let go, taking the first set 25-22.

The contest was close early in the second frame, as the teams tied four times before USF took a two-point lead with a Lovell kill and a block by Kohler and Johnson to go up at 10-8. The Cougars continued to extend their lead, grabbing a 23-14 point advantage on its way to a 25-19 win at the break.

SCSU came out swinging in the final set and led 3-0 before the Cougars went on a 4-1 spurt to tie the frame at 4-4. The set went back and forth before the Cougars got on a roll with Goedken serving, as they ran off six straight points to take a commanding 16-9 lead.

The Cougars kept the pressure on SCSU, forcing seven attack errors in the set. Getting ahead as much as nine points at 20-11, a Husky attack error ended the match in USF’s favor.

The Cougars are back in action on Friday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m. to take on MSU-Moorhead in Moorhead, Minn.

Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls