Jacks trampled by Mastodons

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

The nearly 500 people in attendance at SDSU’s last volleyball match were given their money’s worth in a classic five-set thriller.

IPFW made the kills when it counted, erased a two-set deficit and took the match 3-2 at Frost Arena on Nov. 8. The experience of the older Mastodons had an impact on the game.

“We’re a young team, and it showed,” said Jackrabbits head coach Nana Allison-Brewer. “We battled hard, and I am proud of the girls’ play.”

The Jacks used the momentum of joyous celebration from SDSU seniors Mackenzie Angner, Rachel Dahl and Justine Olsen. SDSU was up 2-0 when both teams went into their respected locker rooms.

IPFW would come back out and take the final three sets. The Jacks had only 46 kills on 18 errors in the last three stanzas. In contrast, SDSU had 32 kills on 12 errors in the first two sets.

Besides playing for a Summit League tournament berth, the IPFW volleyball team was also playing for revenge.

In late November of 2007, the Jacks beat IPFW in the Summit League Championship game on the Mastodons’ home court. The Jacks went to the D-I tournament, and IPFW could only watch. Although it was a year ago, the championship loss was not forgotten by the ‘Dons.

“Of course, it played a role,” said Steve Florio, Mastodons associate head coach. “Whenever you get knocked out of the Division I tournament on your home court, it’s always going to leave an impact on our team.”

In 2008, IPFW returned the favor, as the loss on senior day would knock the Jacks out of Summit League Tournament contention.

“We play hard. Of course, we’d like a different result,” said Olsen, who had a serving ace and seven digs in the match. “We have two (matches) left, and we haven’t given up yet. There’s no way any of us will let up until the last point.”

As she has done the whole season, Angner put the weight of the match on her shoulders. In her last match ever at Frost Arena, the Ohio native’s performance was not good enough.

While she tied with all players for the game-high with 25 kills (along with freshman Ellyce Youngren), she missed opportunities that doomed the Jacks’ chances of winning.

In the pivotal fourth set, the emotional leader of the team hit the ball into the net and gave IPFW the win. In the fifth and final set, Angner was a step short, and the Jacks fell to a team that has been dubbed as their rivals.

The Jacks and the ‘Dons joined D-I in the same year (2003) and joined the Summit League (formerly the Mid-Continent Conference) a year apart from each other.

One player that Angner knew well was ‘Dons senior Jessica Dominiak. The two played against each other in Ohio. Both attended St. Ursula Academy, but the academies were located in different cites.

The two seniors hugged after the match, with mist still in Angner’s eyes.

The difference between the Mastodons’ play at the beginning of the match and the end was the ‘Dons being used to stressful situations, according to Dominiak, who had 42 assists and five kills.

“We play really well under pressure,” she said. The senior joked that she had a little extra on her swings that went to her old high school rival.

“Sometimes, it doesn’t work out, like the first two games (sets), but this time we got the win.”

The Jacks end the season 6-8 at home and 8-17 overall, with two matches still to play. IPFW improved to 10-4 in the Summit League and 10-4 overall.

SDSU will finish the season at Centenary (0-13 in conference play) and UMKC (4-9 in Summit).