Jacks earn playoff berth after weekend sweep of Oral Roberts and Centenary

Shane Koob

Shane KoobSportswriter

The Summit League has been survival of the fittest all season long and that’s just what the Jacks did Nov. 11 at Frost Arena, as they survived Oral Roberts for a 3-2 victory.

The stage was set for drama, as both teams entered the game at 10-6 in the conference and a Summit League Tournament bid on the line. Things were not looking good early with the Jacks dropping the first two sets, but the offense got going and SDSU never looked back.

“We were patient, played one point at a time, and we were able to chip away,” head coach Nanabah Allison-Brewer said.

Recently named Summit League Female Athlete of the Month for October, sophomore Kelli Fiegen slammed 19 kills with only two errors in 37 attempts for a .459 attack percentage. Junior Ellyce Youngren also had 19 kills on the night for the Jacks, as well as 15 digs.

The first set saw six tie scores and two lead changes and needed extra points to decide the winner. The set was close in the beginning before Oral Roberts pushed their lead to 19-14. The Jacks then went on a roll and battled back to tie the game at 24-24. Oral Roberts then dumped a soft hit in the Jackrabbit defense and landed a kill to win the set 26-24.

Oral Roberts cruised in the second set, as they led from point number one, and won the set 25-20. The Jacks couldn’t seem to get the ball to their big hitters, and that placed them in a two set hole.

“We went back into the team room and the captains said we have to fight, this is for everything,” sophomore Kelly Herrmann said.

The Jacks came out in the third set and played much better volleyball after a disappointing second set. Youngren opened the set with a hard kill in the middle of the Oral Roberts defense, and the Jacks looked ready to cruise in set three as they got out to a 7-4 lead. Oral Roberts had other plans, as they came back to tie the set at 9-9.

The middle of the third set was back and forth, and the Jacks battled through nine tie scores and four lead changes. With Oral Roberts taking the lead at 17-16, the Jacks went on a 9-3 run to close out the set and stay alive for set four.

“(Being down 0-2) You can’t get too emotional or crazy. It was them calming down and pulling together as a team,” Allison-Brewer said.

After landing eight kills in only 12 attempts in the set three victory, Youngren continued to pound the ball in the fourth set, as she led the Jacks to an easy win by a score of 25-19. The Jacks showed the power of all their hitters, as senior Thyele Rechatiko recorded 16 assists and distributed the ball well.

Extra points were also needed in set five, but the Jacks were never behind. SDSU went up 13-9 before Oral Roberts came back to tie things up at 13-13. The Frost Arena crowd came alive in the final points, and the Jacks responded with back-to-back kills from Fiegen and sophomore Kaitlin Klingemann to end the match.

“We came out and refocused (after being down 0-2), and we gave it our all and turned things around in our head,” Herrmann said.

With the five set victory Nov. 11, all the Jacks needed to do was beat Centenary on Nov. 13 at Frost Arena to clinch a spot in the Summit League Tournament. That would prove to be an easy feat, as Centenary entered the match without a conference win, and the Jacks cruised to a 3-0 victory and earned their spot in the conference tourney.

The Jacks are heading to Fargo, N.D. this weekend as the number four seed in the Summit League Tournament, where they will face number one seed IPFW, Nov. 19 at 5 p.m. If the Jacks win, they will play either NDSU or Southern Utah on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.

#1.1782298:2690494669.png:Volleyball-29-Ryan-Robinson.png:Jackrabbits setter Thyele Rechatiko delivers a jump serve against Oral Roberts on Nov. 11 at Frost Arena. SDSU tallied a 7-2 home record against Summit League opponents during the 2010 campaign.:Collegian Photo by Ryan Robinson