VERMILLION, S.D. (KSFY) - A disappointing loss in the Summit League Tournament doesn't diminish.
What the Coyote volleyball team did this year - the Yotes went a perfect 16-0 in Summit League play and had a 24 match win streak.
This was a team they thought would take some time to gel, coming off last year's season where they went to their first-ever NCAA Tournament.
"I think what makes this team special is the fact that I think there were a lot of question marks going into this year," said Leanna Williamson, USD head coach. 'You know the new people. We had eight out of 16 new people on the roster. We thought it would take a little longer to mesh together. The fact that there were more question marks this year and yet we were able to be really strong and make history again for our program is really special."
The 27-2 Coyotes have been lead by some of the program's all-time greats - Anne Rasmussen won Summit League Defensive Player of the Year honors; Madison Jurgens is the league's setter of the year, and Elizabeth Juhnke is the freshman of the year.
For 11th-year, Williamson, who was also the coach of the year, the Coyotes can hurt you in a lot of ways.
"I think one of the biggest keys is that we are really balanced," Williamson said. "We're balanced on offense. We're balanced on defense. We have a good balance between our offense and defense. We just think that anyone can lead us in any of those categories on any given night."
"It's really important having all five good hitters, as an opponent they can't hone in on one attacker," said Elizabeth Loschen, USD senior. 'If one person is off, another person is on. They're going to have to face all five of us so it's very important to have all five of us hitters on at the same time."
Unlike last year, where USD got the automatic bid after winning the Summit League Tournament Title, the Coyotes will wait and see if that at large bid comes and if they get it they plan on making the most of a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament.
"Yeah it's been really cool," said Anne Rasmussen, USD senior. "I don't think I could ask for a better team to do this with and especially being our senior year, it's been a great experience to be able to do it in our last season."