Volleyball splits season-ending road trip

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

The 2009 women’s volleyball team ended their season on Nov. 13 and 14 splitting two road matches against conference foes to finish a game short of its ultimate goal of reaching the Summit League tournament.

Coming off a heartbreaking five- set loss at conference champ North Dakota State on Nov. 7 that effectively ended the Jacks’ hopes of postseason play, SDSU started the trip with a four-set loss at Oral Roberts (11-15, 7-10) 25-21, 25-14, 21-25, 25-19 on Nov 13.

The only set that SDSU hit over .100 was the third set in which they hit .357 and won by four.

Second-year head coach Nanabah Allison-Brewer said she felt good going into the weekend after coming off a good NDSU game but was disappointed in the first game at ORU.

“We weren’t as sound offensively as I would have liked,” Allison-Brewer said. “We were able to bounce back in the third set, but it was just too late. When you give a team two sets and you win the third, you are still having to fight and battle. It was just too little too late.”

It was a different story the next night at last-place Centenary (4-26, 0-18), where SDSU swept the Ladies 25-14, 25-10, 25-13 with a strong offensive output.

A hitting percentage of .304, the second best all season, with 37 kills and only six errors, ended up calming Allison-Brewer’s nerves of a letdown in this back-to-back match.

“I was definitely nervous going into Centenary,” Allison-Brewer said. “They are a team that hasn’t done as well, but they are a feisty team that has battled against every opponent that they have played. They’re another team that you have to go in respecting and making sure you get your job done. I was very proud that we could bounce back from the night before.”

The Jacks have won all six meetings between the two schools, while not even dropping a single set.

Looking back on the season, there were a few matches that ended up being turning points that could have made the Jacks’ (10-17, 9-9) season look completely different. A 9-9 Summit League record put SDSU alone in sixth place in the 10-team league, just a game out of fourth and a chance at the final spot at the Summit League tournament.

Oakland (17-10, 10-8) ended up edging UMKC (15-15, 10-8) for the fourth spot due to tiebreakers. On Sept. 18, SDSU lost a five-setter at Oakland, where they had a 2-1 set lead, and on Oct. 1, the Jacks lost another five-setter at UMKC after having a 2-0 lead. If SDSU had won both of those matches, or maybe just one, they would have found themselves getting ready to play in the Summit League Tournament this weekend in Fargo.

“It does leave a sour taste in your mouth when you don’t capitalize on three opportunities that we had to make it to the conference tournament,” Allison-Brewer said. “Not getting the five-set wins early in the season when we were up 2-0 and 2-1 was big. We knew that we put ourselves in a spot where we had to win our last three matches of the year, all on the road.”

SDSU matched their 10-17 record of a year ago and had a .500 in the league for the second straight year.

Freshman Fiona Jones ended up leading the team with 288 kills and 21 service aces, as she was the only Jackrabbit to play in all 103 sets.

The lone senior on this year’s team was Stacey Wernert, who was the team leader with 406 digs.

Every player should return next season except for Wernert, and that should only help in gaining experience and bringing much-needed leadership to a young team that had six freshmen and five sophomores on the 15-player roster.