Jacks end four-match losing streak

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

The volleyball team split a pair of Summit League road games this past weekend in a pivotal road stretch to keep their conference tournament hopes alive.

A three-set loss at IUPUI on Oct. 23 sent the Jacks to their 10th loss in 11 games away from Frost Arena and made their next match against Western Illinois all that more important.

SDSU would close out the Fighting Leathernecks in four sets (25-19, 26-24, 21-25, 25-23) to get within one game of fourth-place IUPUI for the final Summit League tournament spot.

Sophomore Ellyce Youngren led the Jacks in kills in both matches with a total of 28 and six blocks, while the assists were divvied up pretty evenly between Nicole Peters (37) and Thyele Rechatiko (35).

The final three home matches of the season begin on Oct. 28 with a non-conference match against Missouri Valley leader Northern Iowa (20-2, 11-0), who come in riding an 18-match winning streak and has only lost nine sets during that span. The Panthers are rated 27th in the country based on RPI and are 29th in the latest AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, receiving 45 votes. They also are top 10 in the nation in winning percentage (fourth at .909 percent), kills per set (sixth at 14.77), assists per set (seventh at 13.64). Sophomore Ellie Blankenship ranks second in the country at 6.14 digs per set.

Then comes two winnable conference matches starting with eighth-place Southern Utah (6-16, 4-8) on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. The Jacks won the first ever meeting between the two schools earlier this season in Cedar City, Utah in a five set come-from-behind win.

The final home match of the year is against UMKC (10-12, 6-6) who sit at fifth in the Summit League and a half game ahead of SDSU. The Jacks lost for the first time in seven all-time meetings against the Kangaroos in Kansas City, this time falling in five sets. UMKC comes into the match on a five match-winning streak.