Panthers sweep SDSU at Frost


UNI showed the Jacks what a mid-major power can do on the courts.

SDSU’s 3-0 loss to UNI at Frost Arena on Nov.7 featured a program at the top of their game and another searching for answers to a lost season.

The 12th-ranked Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in set one and never really looked back, sweeping the Jacks by scores of 25-22, 25-20 and 25-18.

SDSU didn’t have an answer for UNI setter Bre Payton, who posted 32 assists along with 11 kills in only 14 attempts. Blocking UNI’s Krista DeGeest was also a problem for the Jacks. DeGeest recorded a .571 attack percentage and finished the night with a match high of 13 kills.

Phil McDaniel, SDSU head coach, had the scouting edge for the match, having coached at Drake against UNI in the Missouri Valley Conference the previous three seasons. That edge didn’t seem to factor much into the final decision, though.

“Obviously UNI’s a very good team,” McDaniel said. “I’ve known that group for four years now, coming from the Valley, and they’re well coached and very athletic and move the ball around very well.”

Battling from behind the whole first set, the Jacks pulled within one point but couldn’t get past the fast-paced UNI offense.

Set two was close to the same story. Instead of playing from behind from the get-go, the Jacks held a slim lead during the first half of the set, but UNI wouldn’t go away and ended the match with four straight kills. The Panthers picked up right where they left off in set three, and the Jacks really didn’t have much of a chance for a comeback.

The Jacks have suffered from mental mistakes and inconsistent play all season long and last Monday wasn’t any different.

“I don’t think we did terrible,” Kelli Fiegen said. “We could’ve done better, kind of sloppy and we just weren’t engaged the whole time.”

Fiegen nailed a team high of 10 kills, followed by Kelly Herrmann and Kaitlin Klingemann with nine and eight kills, respectively. The Jacks finished the night with a .164 attack percentage for an offense that looked out of sync most of the match.

What’s the biggest difference between the two programs that battled in Frost Arena on Nov. 7?

“They’ve got the complete group there and I’d say we’re missing a couple pieces,” McDaniel said.

UNI extended its winning streak to 17 games while the Jacks fell to 13-18 overall. The match showed what tradition can do for a program and what SDSU needs to work on.

“The [tradition] is passed down from year to year with new freshmen coming in knowing that they have to work hard,” Fiegen said. “I think we could do a better job of taking a little bit more pride in our game and playing for South Dakota State.”