SDSU volleyball team fights for playoff spot

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

All of a sudden the race for the fourth spot in the Summit League volleyball race is getting interesting.

The Jackrabbit volleyball team is currently in a five-team race for the fourth overall team in the Summit League. The top two spots seem well under control as North Dakota State (6-0 in the Summit League) and Oral Roberts (7-1) are dominating other Summit League teams. IPFW (5-2) seems to have the third spot in control as no other team is over .500.

Outside the three tops teams, the coveted fourth spot (top four teams advance to the Summit League Tournament) is wide open.

After the Jackrabbits’ victory on Oct. 10 over Western Illinois (3-1), senior Mackenzie Angner had a message for their upcoming opponent the day after.

“Bring it on IUPUI,” she said.

Angner made sure the Jaguars of IUPUI would remember her from her performance. The Jacks beat IUPUI (3-2) and are now 3-3 overall in the Summit League. The senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, had a double-double and a pair of career highs in kills and digs.

She had a .371 hitting percentage and 25 total kills against IUPUI. She also had 33 digs. The outside hitter on the weekend averaged 6.67 kills and 4.44 digs per match. Her total hitting percentage was .348.

SDSU head coach Nana Allison-Brewer had good things to speak of the Ohio senior captain.

“Wow, yeah for her, she’s been working very hard to get kills besides bringing it,” she said.

“But she brought it.”

With the two wins in the Summit League over the weekend, SDSU (3-3 in the Summit) moves ahead of UMKC (3-5), IUPUI (3-5), Western Illinois (2-4) and Oakland (2-5).

Before the weekend play started, SDSU found themselves in the bottom of Summit League standings and were 2-12 overall. Allison-Brewer credits the home faithful for energizing her team’s play.

“It’s going to be fun; this is what we need to continue to move forward. Just get the taste again,” she said.

The next two Summit League matches for the Jacks are at the friendly confines of Frost Arena.

Not only does SDSU have Summit League foes, Centenary (La.) College and UMKC on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 at home, SDSU is riding a three-game winning streak.

The consecutive wins have been expected, according to the SDSU coaching staff.

“We have waited for that moment with our tough schedule. What better time with matches at home,” said Allison-Brewer.

The first match of this weekend, SDSU will look to move up in the Summit League standings with a win over the Ladies of Centenary. The Ladies are winless so far in the Summit League (0-6).

Other Oct. 17 Summit League match-ups include: UMKC at NDSU, Oakland at IUPUI and IPFW at Western Illinois.

On the next day, SDSU will host the UMKC Kangaroos in a crucial Summit League match. Both the Jacks and UMKC have three wins in the Summit League this season. SDSU is currently all alone in fourth place, due to the ‘Roos losing five Summit League matches and SDSU only having three.

After a 12-game losing streak earlier in the season, the Jacks are happy to be in the middle of a playoff run.

“We’ve had a very rough season going from a 12-game devastating (losing streak) …” said Angner. “Coming back home, we want to defend it, every time we play at Frost.”

After this weekend SDSU will host Drake Bulldogs on Oct. 20. Drake’s head coach is former SDSU assistant coach Phil McDaniel.

#1.882349:4184677425.jpg:Volleyball.WI.2.CMYK.ES.jpg:The SDSU volleyball team brings it in for a huddle before the start of Oct. 11’s game against Centenary.:Ethan Swanson