MADISON, S.D. - The Dakota State University volleyball team returned home Tuesday night. The Trojans hosted their in-state rival University of Sioux Falls in a non-conference match at the DSU Fieldhouse. The Cougars defeated the Trojans in five-set thriller (23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20 and 15-12).
Dakota State dropped their overall record to 8-16. The Cougars, who will make a transition to NCAA Division II next year, improved their overall record to 17-13. USF remained undefeated against DAC opponents (4-0) that included wins over Valley City State, Mayville State and Minot State.
USF and Dakota State were tied nine times in the early first set. With the Trojans leading 22-19, the Cougars used a 4-1 scoring run to tie the first set for the 10th time at 23-23. A kill from DSU's Stephanie Kruggel and an attack error by USF sealed the first set victory for DSU at 25-23.
In the second set, the Cougars closed the set with a 12-6 run for a 25-19 win to tie the match at 1-1.
USF led 19-15 in the third set. The Trojans used a 10-4 scoring tear to secure the third set victory by the score of 25-23. DSU scored the final three points with kills from Kruggel, Lauren LaBar and Mollie Merriam.
The Cougars raced to a 12-6 lead in the fourth set. The Trojans went on an 11-3 run to overtake the lead at 17-15. USF closed out the set with a 10-3 run for a 25-20 fourth set win and force the deciding set.
USF opened the fifth and deciding set with a 9-4 lead. DSU rallied back and tied the game at 12-12 with an 8-3 run. The Cougars scored the final three points to secure the victory.
Both teams had 57 kills in the match. The Trojans suffered 12 service errors compared to the Cougars' two. USF recorded five service aces compared to the Trojans' one. The Cougars had six more digs than the Trojans (100-94).
Dakota State recorded 10.5 team blocks compared to USF's 6.5 team blocks.
Kruggel recorded a double-double of 17 kills and 14 digs for the Trojans. Mandy Baxa had 11 kills and five block assists. Amy Pheneger recorded nine kills, 16 digs and five block assists. Ashley Schulte produced eight kills and three block assists. LaBar had three blocks (a solo block and four block assists). Merriam contributed 45 set assists.
Katie Green led the Trojans with 32 digs. Mandi Atkins had 11 digs.
For USF, Amber Nieuwsma had a triple-double of 11 kills, 17 assists and 19 digs. Sarah Kohler had 11 kills. Rachel Hussey added 10 kills. Samantha Haffke had a double-double of 25 assists and 13 digs. Alyssa Chambers, Kohler and Hussey each had three block assists.
Rachel Heeney had 26 digs for the Cougars. Tashalya Person added 18 digs.
Dakota State will begin their second half of the DAC schedule on the road this weekend. The Trojans are in the middle of seven straight conference matches on the road. DSU travels to Rapid City, S.D. on Friday to take on South Dakota School of Mines for an 8 p.m. (CT)/7 p.m. (MT) match. On Saturday afternoon, DSU takes on Black Hills State in Spearfish, S.D. at 4 p.m. (CT)/3 p.m. (MT).
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director