FARGO, N.D. – South Dakota staved off three match points and survived a five-set battle with North Dakota State on Saturday morning inside Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse. Set scores were 25-16, 24-25, 25-18, 15-25, 18-16.

The Coyotes, closing the regular season at 18-9, registered a season-high 77 kills as a team in a match that lasted two hours and 24 minutes and featured 22 ties and 10 lead changes.

Three players reached double figures in kills and four had double digit dig totals as South Dakota closed the Summit League slate at 15-3 and in second place by themselves.

“This was a well-earned win on the road,” coach Leanne Williamson. “This is a tough place to play and their team played really well throughout the match to challenge us constantly.

“We gritted out that fifth set which showed how tough we can be.”

Elizabeth Juhnke set her season-high with 25 kills, tied for the most in a Summit League match this season, while hitting .340 and adding 17 digs to register her 15th double-double of the season.

Madison Harms had a career-high 19 kills with just one error and hit .581 in the match, her eighth match over .500 during league play this season.

Sami Slaughter posted 11 kills, Maddie Wiedenfeld nine and Aimee Adams eight.

Madison Jurgens had a career-high 61 assists to go with 11 digs, five kills and two aces while libero Lolo Weideman had 26 digs and Brooklyn Bollweg 11 digs.

“Juhnke and Harms did a great job throughout the match of putting the pressure on them and scoring points in some big time moments and I thought Maddie made some big plays down the stretch to give us a little edge,” said Williamson. “I think this is just what we needed before the conference tournament.”

The Coyotes registered 20 kills in set one, eight from Juhnke, and never trailed. Juhnke had eight kills again in set two, another 20-kill set for South Dakota, though North Dakota State prevailed to even the match at 1-1.

The Coyotes pulled away from a 13-13 deadlock in set three as Wiedenfeld had five of the team’s 17 kills in the set.

North Dakota State, getting 17 kills from Syra Tanchin and 15 from Ali Hinze, controlled the fourth set to push the match the distance.

The Bison, who finished seventh in the Summit League at 6-12, had match points in the fifth set at 14-13, 15-14 and 16-15 before South Dakota tallied the final three points, getting two kills form Harms and the winner from Juhnke.

South Dakota earned the No. 2 seed for next week’s Summit League tournament to be played inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center in Vermillion. The Coyotes, who receive a first-round bye in the six-team tourney, will play in Friday’s semifinals at 7 p.m. against either Denver or South Dakota State.

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