Jacks beat Ladies, secure the first Division One conference title

Zach Anderson

Zach Anderson

With nothing to lose, only an assistant coach holding a file folder while coaching and two subs, a tough Centenary volleyball team battled first place SDSU Nov. 9 in Frost Arena. In spite of the impressive perfomance by the last place Ladies, the Jackrabbits won 30-26, 30-21 and 30-24.

The Jackrabbits struggled with Centenary throughout the match. “I think there is a couple different factors, but Centenary played well,” Jackrabbit coach Andrew Palileo said. “We came out a little sluggish but I think Centenary had something to do with that. In a couple rallies they really took it to us and I give them credit for playing the way they did.”

“SDSU had pressure on us all night,” Centenary Interim head coach Dan Gwitt said. Gwitt, in his first coaching stint, took over the Ladies volleyball program midway through the 2007 season.

The second game turned out to be the difference for the Jackrabbits; they had a hitting percentage of .424 compared to the Ladies hitting percentage of .190. Senior Samantha Pearson set the single-season record for digs as she got her 606th dig. “I just know that our team has been playing really good this year, so on top of that, they’ve been able to help out on defense,” Pearson said.

Centenary kept it close in the first game with a hitting percentage of .122 compared to the Jackrabbits .275 as the Jacks pulled out the win 30-26. The Jackrabbits total hitting percentage was .333 compared to the Ladies .189.

With a win against Centenary, SDSU earned a chance to play Oral Roberts on Saturday to decide the Summit League champion. “That’s the position that we have been trying to put ourselves in to go out and compete for the conference title, and for putting all the hard work we have been putting in the last three years,” Palileo said.

The Jackrabbits (21-8, 11-3 conference), swept the Ladies (2-26, 1-13 conference) 3-0 despite a tough performance from an improved Centenary team. Junior middle blocker Ashlee Freeman led Centenary with 14 kills, Libero Yvonne Ramirez had 13 digs and senior setter Lindsay Bekelja had 40 set assists.

The theme was Hawaiian night. “I loved it. At first I thought they had it for me, but apparently they have it every year,” said SDSU’s only Hawaiian player, freshman Melia Iwamoto. She had 52 set assists, which sets a record for a three-game single match.

Senior Kristina Martin led the Jacks with 18 kills and 10 digs. Senior Amy Anderson had five block assists to go along with her 16 kills.

#1.883092:635182005.jpg:volleyballmartin.jn.jpg:Senior Kristina Martin spikes the ball against Centenary on Nov. 9.: