USD Volleyball Preseason #1 Selection In Summit League

SIOUX FALLS, SD ( — South Dakota, coming off a 29-4 season and its fourth NCAA tournament berth in five seasons, has been picked to finish first in the Summit League Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll announced Wednesday. Fifth-year senior Madison Harms and fourth-year senior Evelyn Diederich were named Players to Watch.

The Coyotes, who swept the regular season and tournament crowns for the first time in the same season in 2022, garnered six of the nine available first-place votes from the league’s coaches and tallied 61 points in the voting.

South Dakota is coming off its third-straight tournament title and its first ever set wins in an NCAA tournament. The Coyotes made program history when they took two sets against Houston in the five-set battle of the first-round of the NCAA tournament last season.

“This is going to be a thrilling year! This team is working really hard to be the best version of themselves every day,” said head coach Leanne Williamson. “As we have gone through preseason, I believe this team has the capability to earn success throughout the year. We know every Summit League match is going to be tough and that will make for a really exciting year!”

Harms, a three-time first-team All-Summit middle blocker, is just the second Coyote in program history to record 500 career blocks. A native of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, Harms holds the program records in the rally-scoring era for assisted blocks, solo blocks, and total blocks. Harms appeared in all 33 matches last season totaling 309 kills on 667 swings for a .355 hitting percentage, the third-best percentage in the league.

Diederich earns the preseason player to watch honor for the first time in her four-year career as a Coyote. The Overland Park, Kansas, native appeared in 29 matches last season totaling 205 kills, 49 digs, and 25 block assists. Diederich had a career-high 13 kills against North Dakota State on Sept. 27, six digs in a win over Missouri on Aug. 28, and three blocks in a win over Kansas City on Oct. 15.

South Dakota opens the season against the Big 12’s Iowa State on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Ames, Iowa. It’s the first of two games for the Coyotes in Ames as a part of the Cardinal and Gold Challenge hosted by Iowa State. On Saturday, South Dakota will face DePaul for just the second time in program history at 2 p.m.

2023 Summit League Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Rank School Points (1st) 2021 Record (SL)
1. South Dakota 61 (6) 29-4 (16-2)
2. North Dakota State 54 (2) 21-12 (13-5)
3. Omaha 53 (1) 20-11 (14-4)
4. South Dakota State 39 18-15 (11-7)
5. North Dakota 34 12-18 (9-9)
6. Denver 30 19-12 (12-6)
7. Kansas City 25 10-21 (7-11)
8. St. Thomas 16 4-26 (2-16)
9. Oral Roberts 12 9-21 (6-12)

Players to Watch
Note: Players to Watch nominated by the league’s head coaches


Evelyn Diederich | South Dakota | Outside Hitter | Senior

Madison Harms | South Dakota | Middle Blocker | Senior

Ali Hinze | North Dakota State | Outside Hitter | Senior

Kelley Johnson | North Dakota State | Setter | Senior

Shayla McCormick | Omaha | Outside Hitter | Junior

McKenna Ruch | Omaha | Middle Blocker | Senior

Masa Scheierman | South Dakota State | Outside Hitter | Sophomore

Sydni Schetnan | South Dakota State | Outside Hitter | Redshirt Sophomore

Marissa Stockman | North Dakota | Middle Blocker/Right Side | Graduate

Elizabeth Norris | North Dakota | Setter | Graduate

Gianna Bartalo | Denver | Libero/Defensive Specialist | Senior

Cadi Boyer | Denver | Middle Blocker | Graduate

Carly Gillen | Kansas City | Middle Blocker | Senior

Odyssey Warren | Kansas City | Outside Hitter | Senior

Lauren Galvin | St. Thomas | Outside Hitter | Junior

Emma Goerger | St. Thomas | Middle Blocker | Sophomore

Kalena Vaivai | Oral Roberts | Setter | Senior

Trinity Freeman | Oral Roberts | Outside Hitter | Junior