Jackrabbit women seek to capture Smiley again

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

Last year, the Jackrabbit women won the Dr. Helen Smiley Women’s All Sports Award. The Jackrabbits got first place finishes in the regular season from basketball and volleyball. They got second or third place finishes from women’s swimming, soccer, cross country, golf and indoor/outdoor track.

This past weekend was a step in the right direction for the Jackrabbit women to repeat as the All Sports Award recipients for 2008, as two different teams gave impressive showings.

“It was a great weekend,” said Fred Oien SDSU director of athletics.

The soccer team performed well, outscoring both Oral Roberts, 2-0, and Centenary College, 5-0, at Fishback Soccer Park.

The Jackrabbits are the only team in the Summit League that is undefeated, and they have two remaining games in conference play: one against rival North Dakota State and another against a talented Oakland University Golden Eagles team. The team has all but secured a spot in the Summit League Tournament and has a two Summit League opponents left.

The SDSU coaching staff will not take the future foes lightly.

“The biggest thing is late in October as we get closer and closer to the end of the year, you can’t take anything for granted,” said Brock Thompson SDSU’s soccer assistant coach.

Not to be outdone, the Jackrabbit volleyball team strung off two victories at Frost Arena. But the volleyball team did have more drama than the soccer team.

The Jacks got the best of the Westerwinds of Western Illinois, 3-1, at home and beat IUPUI, 3-2. SDSU used a healthy dose of Mackenzie Angner in both matches.

For her efforts last weekend, Angner was named the Summit League Offensive Player of the Week. The senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, had 27 kills and 15 digs on Oct. 10. The next day against the Jaguars, Angner had two career highs. She posted 33 kills and 25 digs in the match to best her former career highs.

With the two wins, SDSU is alone in fourth place, with a 3-3 Summit League record. UMKC does have the same number of wins, but the Kangaroos have lost five matches while the Jacks only have three.

Due to the wins, the SDSU coaching staff is optimistic about future matches in the Summit.

“It’s going to be fun; this is what we need to continue to move forward,” said head coach Nana Allison-Brewer.

“Just get the taste again. Often, we have waited for that moment with our tough schedule. What better time with matches at home.

SDSU will host Centenary (L.A.) on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. The Jacks welcome UMKC on Oct. 18. During the game, fans are asked to wear pink for dig pink night. Proceeds from the night will go towards the Side-Out Foundation, which supports health care professionals in the fight against breast cancer.

Another women’s fall sports team, cross country, will try to earn a first place showing at the Summit League championships. Centenary College will host the championships at the Disc Golf Course on the Clyde Fant Parkway in Shreveport, La. Last year, SDSU missed first place by just one place in Macomb, Ill.

In other action, the women’s equestrian team – which does not compete in the Summit League – went 1-1 this past weekend at the Swiftel Center.

Helen Smiley was a former athletic director at Western Illinois. Last year, SDSU (67.5) beat out NDSU (58.5), W.Illinois (58.5) and Oral Roberts (52.5.)

Points are handed out based on how many schools in the Summit League competed in a given sport. Men and women’s basketball are given 10 points for the first place team. Men’s swimming, on the other hand, is only given five points due to only five schools competing

SDSU finished eighth in the Dr. William Steinbrecher Men’s All Sports Award standings last year. Oral Roberts won the Men’s All Sports Award with 47 points. SDSU, had 27 total points.

The highest men’s finish was cross country with fourth place.

In 2008, Oral Roberts won the first Summit League Commissioner’s Cup with 106.5 points. The Commissioner’s Cup combines both the men and women’s sports (19-in all) of all 10 Summit League schools. SDSU came in third place with 94.5 points, while Western Illinois took second place with 102.5 points, all together.

“We’re stacking up nicely with similar institutions,” said Oien.

The winners of the Commissioner’s Cup will be announced in the spring of 2009.