Jacks swept twice on road

Garrett Dorneman

SDSU dropped a pair of road matches, coming back to earth after a fast start.

The Jackrabbits, riding high after claiming wins in their first three conference games of the season, were brought back down to Earth with an abrupt crash as SDSU was unceremoniously swept by a pair of Summit League foes on Friday and Saturday.

The Jacks fell to IPFW (8-5 overall, 2-1 in the Summit League) in straight sets, 25-22, 25-20 and 25-22 Friday in Fort Wayne, Ind., and to Oakland (7-6, 2-2) in nearly the same fashion by scores of 25-18, 25-18 and 25-11 Saturday in Rochester, Mich.

Despite the outcome, SDSU played very well against IPFW. The Jacks held multi-point leads in all three sets but were unable to close any of them out. The third set was especially intense, featuring a dozen ties and six lead changes before the Mastodons put the match away by scoring five of the final six points.

Kelli Fiegen was the workhorse on offense, leading the team with eight kills. Three other players, Kaitlin Klingemann, Bailey Philippot and Ellyce Youngren, each knocked down seven kills.

SDSU’s battle with Oakland the following night was not nearly as dramatic.

The Jacks managed to grab an early 10-4 lead in the first set before the Golden Grizzles would turn on the afterburners, going on a 21-8 scoring run to snatch away an SDSU victory in the first set. The Grizzlies momentum would carry over in the next two sets as the Jacks were overwhelmed by the Oakland defense, specifically being held to a .000 attack percentage in the third set. Fiegen and Klingemann once again provided the attack on offense, pounding six kills each with Klingemann posting a team high attack percentage of just .250.

The losses dropped SDSU’s record to 11-6 overall and 3-2 in Summit League play.

“I liked the way we played Friday; Saturday was a little bit of a different story,” said head coach Phil McDaniel.

McDaniel elaborated that his team played aggressively and paid sharp attention to detail early in both matches, but eventually lost track of the opposing attackers.

One particularly bright spot on for the Jackrabbits over the dull weekend was junior Shay Birath reaching the milestone of 1,000 career digs. Birath came into the weekend needing 24 digs to reach 1,000. She cut her magic number to 16 against

IPFW and hit the mark the following night, becoming just the 13th Jackrabbit to make it to 1,000 digs.

“She is the anchor of our defense,” said McDaniel. “It really is a great accomplishment, especially for a junior.”

Birath’s milestone achievement comes on the heels of Youngren achieving the 1,000 kill mark a week earlier in the Jacks victory over IUPUI.

The Jacks will look to correct their losing ways in a Summit League showdown against rival NDSU Saturday at 1 p.m. at Frost Arena.