Coyotes Fall To UMKC In Five-Set Thriller
VERMILLION, SD -- Kansas City used 34 kills from Emily Lucas to overcome a 2-1 set deficit and defeat South Dakota in a five-set thriller.
The Coyotes (7-10, 1-4 Summit League) reeled off an impressive six straight points midway through the fifth set to open up a 9-7 lead. The teams went back and forth for the next several points, with USD fighting off a couple of match-points to stay alive before the Kangaroos won the match with back-to-back Lucas kills.
Kansas City (11-7, 4-2) was excellent at the net all night, holding a 22-14 edge over South Dakota in blocks and out-hitting the Coyotes .248 to .173.
After the match South Dakota head coach Matt Houk was complimentary of the visiting team.
"Kansas City is a nice team," said Houk. "Lucas had a big night and there wasn't much we could do about it. We adjusted our block in an attempt to take her line away and then she started scoring high hands deep off the court. There's not much you can do when a girl is swinging like that."
Houk was equally impressed with the play of his own team, especially middle hitters Melissa Firtko (Racine, Wis.) and Kelsey Biltoft (Nelson, Neb.).
"I'm really happy with our two young middles," Houk said. "They are getting better every day. Melissa ended up with nine kills and Kelsey had eight. That is a good match for the two of them. They were both active at the net and made some nice blocks.
"I like the style of volleyball we are playing right now," Houk continued. "I believe it will pay off for us soon. We are playing well and have a good team. Our expectations are high and that will not change because we've lost a couple close matches."
Tori Kroll (Germantown, Wis.) had a match high 48 assists and Kim Bulaga (Crystal Lake, Ill.) chipped in a double-double (16 kills, 17 digs) for USD.
Houk was optimistic about his squad's upcoming road matches with South Dakota State and North Dakota State, saying he views the impending rivalry games as a great opportunity for his group to turn things around.
Courtesy: University of South Dakota