Coyotes Fall to No. 23 Cougars in 5 Sets, Juhnke Injured in Loss
On Friday night, the University of South Dakota Coyote volleyball team lost to the No. 23 ranked Houston Cougars in five sets.
The first set was all Houston as they hit .516 and held the Coyotes to a .000 hitting percentage. The Cougars won set one 25-14.
The sets to come saw a different storyline, with a back and forth feel to the match. Houston was able to win set two 25-19 and hit .457, but the Coyotes were able to keep the score within three or four points most of the set.
From there, the Cougars’ hitting percentage would fall. USD took a 15-6 lead in the third set, but Houston was able to cut it to 19-15. USD would end Houston’s run by closing the set out and winning it 25-18. The Coyotes’ third set victory was the program’s first ever set win in the Division One NCAA Volleyball Tournament.
Set four was the Coyotes’ second Division One NCAA Volleyball Tournament set win as they took it 25-23. Although USD was able to win the set, they lost a key figure in the match. After putting a kill away to cut Houston’s lead in the set to 15-11, junior Elizabeth Juhnke was carted off of the court on a stretcher after an awkward landing on her leg. Tears could be seen on the USD players’ faces after the injury, and USD rallied to cut Houston’s lead, and win the set.
Before seeking medical attention, Juhnke stayed on the stretcher in the hallway to the locker rooms to cheer on her team to their fourth set victory.
In the deciding set, The Cougars jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, but the Coyotes were able to rally to tie the fifth set at 10. From there, Houston went on a 4-0 run to give them four match points. They were able to convert on their second opportunity and won the fifth set 15-11.
After the game, Coyote players were joined in a prayer circle with Houston players to show their support for Juhnke and her health.
Statistically, the Cougars were led by libero Kate Georgiades who tallied 29 digs in the match, and Kennedy Warren who had 21 kills in the contest. For the Coyotes, Juhnke registered a team high 17 kills, and she totaled 11 digs. Pre-injury, Juhnke’s performance put her past 2,000 career kills.
Houston will take on Auburn tomorrow at 6:30 pm CT.