Youngren’s 19 kills key in win over ORU

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

In what could be considered the biggest win in the Nanabah Allison-Brewer era at SDSU, the women’s volleyball team defeated 2008 Summit League runner-up Oral Roberts 3-1, 18-25, 25-17, 25-14 and 25-20 on Sept. 12.

The Jacks (3-5, 2-0) broke a trend this season when they lost the first set 25-18. In their eight matches this season, SDSU has won the first set five times.

A second set win of 25-17 turned the momentum in favor of SDSU behind the strong play of sophomore Ellyce Youngren.

Youngren, a Brookings native, finished with 19 kills in 28 attempts, with only a single error for an outstanding .643 hitting percentage.

She earned Summit League Co-Player of the Week honors after having a weekend total of 29 kills with just two errors in 48 attempts for a .562 hitting percentage and 12 total blocks in two matches.

Going into her second year, Youngren, a 2008 all-Summit League second-team selection and a member of the all-freshmen team, said that she has learned a lot from her first season.

“I understand the game better,” Youngren said. “My volleyball IQ has definitely increased, and that helps me in the game. It also helps everyone else understand so that us sophomores, juniors and seniors can help the freshmen improve.”

The Jacks would put on the afterburners as far as hitting went in the final two sets. A season-tying .345 hitting percentage with only two errors in the third set was good enough to win 25-14.

A 25-20 fourth set victory was triggered by the new season-high hitting percentage of .630 with 18 kills with one error on 27 attempts.

The total of 30 block assists was only one away from tying the all-time school record that dates back to 1987.

“That’s something that we have definitely been working hard at, and we know that blocking is going to be one of our strengths,” said second-year head coach Allison-Brewer. “It’s great to see that with a good team like Oral Roberts we can get up there and own the net. “

Allison-Brewer said the way the Jacks won against Oral Roberts (4-5, 0-2) is good to see because it plays to the team’s strength.

“We want to win games at the net,” Allison-Brewer said. “I think it is going to help us offensively, too.

“We were really able to engage our middle blockers, which usually is an outside-driven game.”

Showing energy and excitement has been a common theme early this season for the Jacks, as the coaches want the players to cheer each other on, hoping it will raise the level of play.

“Intensity and carrying everything over helps, because in the beginning of the season we didn’t know how to be consistent,” said Youngren. “We are feeling each other out and learning how to carry that momentum throughout the whole game. I think that everybody picked up their energy, and we all feed off of each other and give each other confidence.”

Youngren led the way by setting new career highs with eight block assists and nine total blocks.

Kelli Fiegen contributed as well, with 13 kills and a career-best hitting percentage of .476. Freshman Fiona Jones had double-digit kills again with 11, while junior setter Nicole Peters set another career high with 41 set assists.

The Jacks return to action on Sept. 18 when they travel to Rochester, Mich., to take on Oakland.