INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Fighting Leatherneck volleyball fell in three sets to South Dakota in the opening round of The Summit League Tournament on Friday (Nov. 22) in Indianapolis.
"Tonight's loss does not define this program by any means, but rather, lays the groundwork for a very bright future of Leatherneck volleyball," said head coach April Hall. "We achieved our goal of making conference tournament, and I am confident that we will put in the work as a team to ensure that we go even further next year. This team has several things to be proud of that go beyond the tangibles of skill development and winning. Each member of this team has grown, developed, and became the best teammate they could be for the sake of each other."
USD took the opening set, 25-18. The set started off back-and-forth before the Coyotes went on a five-point run midway through to gain a lead that they would hold on to for the duration.
The second set featured 10 tied scores with the Coyotes coming out on top, 25-21. With the set tied at 19-19, USD went on a four-point run to pull ahead for good. Ann Miller notched six kills in the set to lead the Leathernecks.
The Coyotes took the final set, 25-19, to earn the match sweep. The final set saw nine more tie scores but USD pulled away in the end for the victory.
Miller notched a team-high 17 kills in the match at a .432 clip for Western.
In her final collegiate match, Sarah Fetter recorded 31 assists for the Purple & Gold. Fetter ends her Leatherneck career with 3,246 assists, good for third all-time at WIU.
Fetter and fellow senior Heather Smith combined to appear in 185 total matches during their time at Western Illinois. Smith finished her final collegiate match with seven digs and three kills for the Leathernecks.
Molly Murphy recorded 10 digs to lead Western, while Fetter and Miller added nine and eight, respectively.
The Leathernecks end the season with a 12-18 overall mark, while USD improves to 19-12 overall. The Coyotes advance to the semifinals of The Summit League Tournament and will face Denver on Saturday (Nov. 23).
"It's hard to believe our season has come to a close. It feels like just yesterday we walked into the gym for the first time, unsure of, but excited for what the season held for us," added Hall. "We thank our seniors for their leadership and wish them well in the future. To all of our fans, friends, students, administration and families, THANK YOU! Without your support we would not be who we are today.Stay with us, the future is beyond bright!"