South Dakota

A memorable week for Huskies coach Erin Kuper

Six days ago, Elk Point-Jefferson won their first-ever state soccer championship. On Thursday in Sioux Falls at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, the Huskies upset top seed Wagner 3-1 in the Quarterfinals of the A State Volleyball Tournament.

But something different happened for head volleyball coach Erin Kuper this week that could top them all.

“I had a baby on Saturday,” explained Kuper. “My mom is home with the baby right now, so we’ll be going back there quickly.”

She gave birth to a boy. As Kuper will tell you, there have been talks about her pregnancy at state volleyball.

“The game plan from the start, when we found out we were pregnant and we were due on the thirteenth, and it was like, ‘Hey, that’s how it’s going to be because we manage to say it.’ I don’t think it was really a change of heart, but we just planned it and hoped and prayed,” said coach Kuper.

Elk Point-Jefferson entered the state tournament at No. 8. This meant they would be paired straight to top seed Wagner.

“We played them in the last year [SoDak 16] and we lost to them in five, so we kind of had this revenge game and it definitely showed, especially in the fourth set,” explained Kuper. “We didn’t want to five, we made it.”

The Huskies won sets one and two by 25-21 and 25-23. They then dropped the third set 25-23 but held off a Red Raiders rally in the fourth set and won it 27-25.

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Tim Tusla

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South Dakota Public Broadcasting Service

Elk Point-Jefferson defeated Wagner 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the state tournament

“They’ve really only come out in the last couple of games since we started them [post-season] play and just bought us. That’s our game, you know, we’ve got some strong hitters, but that’s how we play the game,” Kuper said. “They have a really big heart and it shows it’s only when you play with heart that that brawling really comes out.”

Elk Point-Jefferson has had a great postseason. They defeated Beresford in the first round of Regionals at home, then defeated the C-Hawks in Canton and defeated Rapid City Christian 3-0 in the SoDak 16 to earn status. Next, they face off against Sioux Falls Christian, the five-time Class A champion.

“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” said the Huskies’ trainer. “I’m just saying how proud I am of her. We have a really great lead and just keep playing with the sloppiness we have.”

#4 Sioux Falls Christian and #8 Elk Point-Jefferson play semifinals at 5 p.m. CT. The game will be streamed live online at sdpb.org/volleyball.

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