SDSU shuts out Leathernecks

Shane Koob

Shane KoobSportswriter

The Jackrabbit volleyball team dominated conference foe Western Illinois on Hobo Day in front of a rowdy 1,197 fans. That crowd was the largest to watch a volleyball match at Frost Arena since 2006.

“It was pretty crazy(the crowd) and it was great getting everyone out here to support us,” sophomore Bailey Philippot said.

After going four straight matches that went five sets, the Jacks swept Western Illinois by scores of 25-13, 25-15, and 25-18. The victory also pushed SDSU up to fifth in the Summit League standings with a 7-6 conference record.

The opening of the first set was back and forth until the Jackrabbits went on a 7-0 run to make things 14-6. The combination of a solid offensive attack and a strong defense was too much for Western Illinois from the start.

Sophomore Kaitlin Klingemann recorded her 200th career kill to make the score 20-9, and fellow sophomore Kelly Herrmann shut the door with a kill, with the final score at 25-13.

“I think we’re doing a great job offensively with getting the rhythm down and that’s been a huge part of making us a stronger team in the second half,” head coach Nanabah Allison-Brewer said.

The Jacks seemed to feed off of the large crowd’s energy, as they pounded their way to another set victory by a tally of 25-15. Through two sets, SDSU had a 29-17 kill advantage while hitting .315 with only six errors in 73 attempts. Western Illinois couldn’t seem to get much going against the strong Jackrabbit defense, as they were held to a .078 attack percentage.

“It was really nice to see them put the defense and offense together and get a great lead and keep it for the win,” Allison-Brewer said.

Western Illinois came out in the third set and jumped to an early lead and looked as if they might not go down so quietly. Following a Jackrabbit timeout with Western Illinois leading 6-2, SDSU began to battle back and tied things up at 9-9.

After the teams exchanged kills, the Jacks went on a 7-2 run before a timeout with the score at 17-12. Western Illinois showed a little spark, pushing the score to 18-17. SDSU would then go on a 7-1 run to close out the set and the match.

“Since we’ve gone five sets in the last four matches, our bodies ache. So we really wanted three (sets) and done,” said Philippot.

Sophomore Kelli Fiegen pounded 12 kills with only one error in 20 attempts for a .551 attack percentage. Klingemann added nine kills on the night while Herrmann, Philippot and junior Ellyce Youngren each had 7 kills.

The Jackrabbits are setting themselves up for a possible Summit League Tournament birth. Only the top four teams make it to the tourney, and the Jacks still have some work to do to catch a fourth place Oakland team. They travel to Cedar City, Utah to face third-place Southern Utah Thursday, Oct. 28.

“It’s our revenge game. They came here and beat us in five sets in our own gym, but we plan on beating them in three sets at their gym,” Philippot said.