DENVER — UNO snapped South Dakota’s 24-match winning streak as the Mavericks earned a spot in the Summit League tournament final with a 21-25, 28-26, 29-27, 26-24 win in Saturday’s semifinals.
With the win, the Mavericks (19-13) advanced to the final for the first time since 2015.
UNO will play Denver for a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Pioneers beat Purdue Fort Wayne in four sets Saturday night. The Mavs have lost twice to Denver this season, including a five-setter in Omaha last month. Denver swept UNO at home last weekend. The final is at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Against USD, Isabella Sade led four Mavs with double-digit kills as she had 17, while Alexa Blase and Anna Blaschko added 15 apiece and Sadie Limback chipped in 10. Blase’s total was a career high. Freshman setter Sami Clarkson had 52 assists.
With UNO leading the match 2-1, the Coyotes tied the fourth set 24-24. But Blaschko recorded a kill and a South Dakota attack error sealed the Coyotes’ first loss since Sept. 3 at Iowa State.
UNO’s defense was superb as it finished with 73 digs. Claire Mountjoy had 22 digs, and Kenzie Michalek added a career-best 20. Blaschko and Rylee Marshall had four blocks each.
Elizabeth Juhnke had 13 kills to lead South Dakota. Omaha Marian graduate Elizabeth Loschen added 11 kills.
After dropping the first set, UNO trailed 26-25 in the second before the Mavs scored three straight with kills by Blase and Sade and Michalek’s ace.
A 10-2 run in the third set gave the Mavericks a 16-14 lead. UNO pushed ahead 24-19, but South Dakota saved five set points and had three set points of its own. But trailing 27-26, UNO again scored three straight to close the set as Limback and Blase had kills during the decisive run.
UNO (19-13)..................... 21 28 29 26
At South Dakota (27-2).... 25 26 27 24
UNO (kills-aces-blocks): Morehead 0-2-0, Michalek 0-1-0, Sade 17-0-1, Blase 15-0-1, Mountjoy 0-1-0, Limback 10-0-2, Blaschko 15-0-4, Marshall 3-0-4, Clarkson 1-2-3, Williams 0-0-0, Leonard 0-0-0. Totals 61-6-15.
USD: Slaughter 10-0-1, Jurgens 4-2-0, Juhnke 13-0-3, Harms 4-0-6, Bollweg 0-1-0, Loschen 11-0-6, Weideman 1-3-0, Rasmussen 0-1-0, Wiedenfield 7-0-4. Totals 50-7-20.
Set assists: UNO 56 (Clarkson 52, Mountjoy 2, Blaschko 1, Marshall 1), USD 49 (Jurgens 44, Fonseca 3, Rasmussen 2). A: 401.