Mistakes doom Ladies, Jacks win 3-0

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

Being down 4-0 in the third set, the Centenary (La.) College volleyball team had a point just within their grasp.

Centenary Ladies’ outside hitter Jennifer Kunze called the serve from freshman Jackrabbit Molly Janssen “out.” But Kunze did not get out of the way, and the ace, along with the 5-0 lead, went to SDSU.

It was that kind of match for both teams, as the Jackrabbits won 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 28-26) on Nov. 17 at Frost Arena.

With mistakes like Kunze’s occurring for his team, Centenary head coach Dan Gwitt was so furious over his team play that he refused to comment on the game. Turns out that point Kunze allowed was crucial, as Centenary made the third set interesting.

With the score tied 26-26, a Centenary player hit a good ball. The ball was sailing towards out of bounds. For a moment, it looked as though Centenary was one point away from winning the third set. Just then, senior Jackrabbit Rachel Dahl made a key dig; later, senior Mackenzie Angner forced her 14th and last kill of the night (she also added 11 digs, a match high) to give the one-point advantage for the Jacks.

Rebecca Poeppel made the final kill of the night to give the Jacks a Summit League victory.

“It was exciting; I think we gave everyone kind of a nail-thriller, I don’t know, a barn burner,” said Jackrabbit head coach Nana Allison-Brewer. “It was a good learning experience for both upperclassmen and underclassmen.”

A big difference between the Jacks (5-12 and 4-3 in the Summit League after the league game) and Centenary (4-17, 0-7 in the Summit League) was experience. SDSU has eight non-freshmen players, while Centenary carries only two non-freshmen.

Experience played a role in SDSU’s victory, according to Ladies’ assistant coach Kate Price.

“I think youth has a great deal (to do) with the result,” said Centenary assistant coach Kate Price. “We’re starting several freshmen; we have 11 freshmen on our team. When you have so many freshmen, it’s hard to have leadership.”

In the first set, last week’s Summit League Offensive Player of the Week, Angner, did not have stellar stats. Her teammates came to the rescue, in particular freshman Ellyce Youngren. Centenary did a good job of plugging the lanes for Angner. Allison-Brewer was happy to see the whole team’s effort.

“I felt that the team made a strong effort,” she said.

Among those getting into play in the third set were seldom-used players: Janssen, Mary Sanderfoot and Emily Palmer.

Dahl said she enjoyed seeing the freshmen out there playing.

“It was so fun to sit there and watch them,” said the Brookings native. “We were trying to coach them and to calm them down, and we told them, ‘You can do this. It’s just like practice.'”

SDSU’s Melia Iwamoto added a match-high 30 assists and eight digs in a solid performance by the Hawaiian sophomore.

Centenary was led by Brianna Kern’s 11-kill night; Kern also added eight digs. Kunze had one more dig than her Ladies’ teammate, leading the team with nine digs.

With SDSU’s victory over UMKC on Oct. 18 and Drake on Oct. 20, SDSU boosted their record to 8-12 overall and 4-3 in the Summit League. With six wins in a row, SDSU sits all alone in fourth place in the Summit League with eight Summit League matches remaining.

#1.882314:1403242372.jpg:SDSU_vs_CENT_vball_sab-0134.jpg::Stephen Brua