VERMILLION, S.D. — The Omaha volleyball team engaged in a five-set battle but came up short Friday night, falling 3-2 (25-23, 25-27, 24-26, 25-20, 9-15) to South Dakota at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center. With their three-match win streak snapped, the Mavericks are now 9-15 (6-5 Summit League), while the Coyotes improve to 15-8 (9-2).
Leaders for Omaha
Junior Abby Bergsten totaled a team-leading 18 kills on .395 hitting to pace the Mavericks. Freshman Anna Blaschko followed with 17 more kills while hitting .389 and added a monstrous blocking performance on a season-high-tying 10 stops, which spurred her to her first career double-double.
Sophomore Gessica Gdowksi also snagged her first career double-double on 11 kills and 19 digs with four blocks, two assists and an ace. Senior Sydney O’Shaughnessy had another double-double — her team-leading 12th of the season — with a match-high 54 assists, 17 digs and a season-high-tying six kills.
Three other Mavericks put up double-figure dig efforts: freshman Claire Mountjoy (27), junior Mackenzie Horkey (21) and freshman Kelli Nee (15). Senior Amanda Conlin added six blocks with five kills, while freshman Bella Sade chipped in eight kills and four blocks for the night.
Leaders for South Dakota
Hayley Dotseth finished with a match-high 22 kills for the Coyotes, adding 17 digs for a double-double. Kristina Susak had another double-double with 10 kills and 24 digs, and Taylor Wilson chipped in 11 kills. Anne Rasmussen finished with a match-best 38 digs.
Omaha outhit South Dakota .223 to .167 and outblocked the Coyotes 14-6. It marked the Mavericks’ second straight and eighth overall double-digit blocking performance.
Inside Set 1
Down 10-5 early in the opening set, Omaha ripped off a 7-2 run to tie it at 12-12 on back-to-back Blaschko kills. The Mavericks took their first lead at 15-13 with three straight kills from Horkey, O’Shaughnessy and Bergsten, and another run — this time 6-1 — pushed it to 18-14. Bergsten then put down her fifth kill of the set, followed by a Sade/Conlin block to build a 20-15 Maverick lead. The Coyotes threatened with a 3-0 run that made it 23-22, but a Blaschko/Conlin stop halted the spurt and brought it to set point. Horkey hammered a kill to finish the set as Omaha won 25-23.
Inside Set 2
Omaha’s hitting cooled from .300 in the first set to .180 in the second, though the Mavericks got four kills apiece from Bergsten and O’Shaughnessy. Omaha and South Dakota traded leads late in the set, and the Mavericks found set point at 24-22 on a Gdowski kill and a Blaschko/Conlin block. After it stalled at 24-24 and 25-25, the Coyotes had the final say with a block and a kill to win 27-25.
Inside Set 3
Blaschko led the way for Omaha in set three, registering five kills and a pair of blocks. Early in the game, neither team could gain more than a two-point foothold, as it stalled at 12-12. Down 17-16, Omaha called for a timeout and tied it at 17-all with a Bergsten kill. The set then tied four more times up to 23-23, at which point the Mavericks took another timeout. Out of the break, a Blaschko kill pushed it to set point, but South Dakota’s 3-0 run helped it win 26-24.
Inside Set 4
Omaha came back to hit .257 in game four while holding the Coyotes to a -.048 showing. The Mavericks enjoyed an early lead, but a 3-0 USD run gave the Coyotes their first advantage at 11-10 and prompted an Omaha timeout. After a 12-12 tie, USD went on a 4-0 run to go ahead 16-12, but the Mavericks regrouped with a timeout and stopped the scoring stretch with a Bergsten kill and a Conlin/Sade block. Omaha eventually tied the set again at 19-19 on back-to-back kills from Gdowski and Blaschko. The freshman was a key cog in Omaha’s 8-1 closing run, accounting for three kills and two blocks. The Mavericks won the fourth set 25-20, which sent the match to game five.
Inside Set 5
Omaha built an early 5-2 advantage in the deciding set, but the Coyotes came back to tie it at 5-5. USD then took the lead at 7-6 and never relinquished it, closing on a 7-2 run to win 15-9.
Noting Tonight’s Match
-O’Shaughnessy’s 54 assists were her second-highest total of the season and her fifth performance of 50+ this year.
-Blaschko holds both of Omaha’s double-digit individual blocking performances this season, as she also had 10 at Fort Wayne (Oct. 1).
-Omaha’s 215 swings as a team were its most of the season. The last time the Mavericks had 200+ attacks in a match was Sept. 23, 2016 vs. Fort Wayne (208).
-The Mavericks’ 110 digs were their highest team total since Nov. 14, 2015 at IUPUI (101).
-Omaha’s 65 assists as a team were also a season high.
Omaha finishes its weekend road swing on Sunday, Nov. 5, visiting Denver. The match is set for 3 p.m. CT in Denver, Colo., and links to live stats and video will be available on OMavs.com.