The University of South Dakota officially opened the Sanford Coyote Sports Center Tuesday night. The Coyote volleyball team hosted the University of North Dakota in the centerpiece of a 66 million dollar facility upgrade.
The first point in the history of the Sanford Coyote Sports Center came at 7:06 P-M; the point went to the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks after the Coyotes hit the ball out-of-bounds. U-S-D recovered from a jittery first set to win the match in the new building. Coyote Junior Kelly Law says she and her teammates knew the arena could serve as a distraction for a while.
“I think it wasn’t so much we weren’t expecting to have nerves—it’s just that idea, and if they were to come up, we would have a way to push those down and find a way to keep focusing on that next point, and not focusing on the nerves so much. We talked about, you know, use the girls next to you, use them to ground you a little bit when you’re feeling like, ‘Oh, this is a big deal,” Law says.
U-S-D Volleyball Coach Leanne Williamson agrees there’s what she calls a “Wow” factor in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. She says it’s a much better atmosphere for students and fans than the small space the team played in next door in the Dakota Dome.
“They’re going to enjoy their experience more because it’s a production. It’s not just a scoreboard up against the wall where half the people have to turn around to see it. There’s the video, there’s the music—there’s just more to it. It’s run more like a basketball game, and to be able to have that just makes it a better atmosphere,” says Williamson.
About 24 hundred fans saw the home opener for the Coyotes—they were treated with one dollar admission, free t-shirts and a chance to be a small part of USD history.
Along with the improvements at U-S-D, South Dakota State is looking forward to opening its new football field, Dana J- Dykhouse Stadium. The Jackrabbits play Drake University in their first home game on September 10th.