Jacks spike Kangaroos in four sets

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerSportswriter

The SDSU Jackrabbits overcame a slow start to win three straight sets, defeating the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos in their conference opening match, 3-1 Friday at Frost Arena. Game scores were 20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-23.

Both teams struggled early with communication and cohesiveness. The first set was fairly even until the midway point when UMKC made a five point run to open the set to 15-12. SDSU could not get any closer as the Kangaroos pulled away 25-20.

“Communication is so big and I don’t know if they thought there was so many people that they couldn’t hear each other or what, but it created a lot of disconnect and confusion,” said Jacks head coach Nanabah Allison-Brewer.

“Once we finally cleaned that up, we were able to have better trust in each other and continue to pursue balls with more control, but that was something that we need to be better at from the get-go.”

In set two, the Jackrabbits led nearly the entire game with strong hitting from sophomores Kaitlin Klingemann and Kelli Fiegen. The Kangaroos mistakes continued to plague them and SDSU won 25-19, evening the match at one.

The Jackrabbits came out in set three with a better sense of focus and were again led by Fiegen and Klingemann. Fiegen, the reigning Summit League Offensive Player of the Week, came up with four kills down the stretch. The game was sealed with a hard kill from the left side from Ellyce Youngren for the 25th point.

The most entertaining game of the night came in set 4 with ties on 15 different occasions, with UMKC leading and the Jackrabbits answering nearly every time. Senior setter Thyele Rechatiko, who had 34 assists, took it upon herself to give the Jacks the lead at 22-21. After the Kangaroos pulled within one point, Fiegen dealt the final of her 13 kills to give the Jackrabbits the victory.

“It feels so good to have another solid middle player [Klingemann] that can balance our attack and that our opponent has to worry about at all times; I think it’s just really great for our team,” Fiegen said.

Klingemann had a game-high 14 kills and Shay Birath led the Jackrabbits with 18 digs.

Christiana McQuin converted 12 kills for the Kangaroos and Ella Meier had 42 set assists.

The players did credit the 914 fans on hand for creating a great environment in their home opener.

“We kind of started out a little weak but then we got the crowd going and everyone [else] going and it was just awesome,” Rechatiko said.

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