Volleyball team finishes season in Fargo

Kirk Danielson

Kirk Danielson

The SDSU volleyball team finished their fall season last weekend at the Independent Tournament in Fargo, N.D. The Jackrabbits went 1-2 in the tournament, to finish the season with a 22-12 record.

The Jackrabbits started the tournament by sweeping Providence 30-20, 30-26 and 30-15. In the match, junior Kristina Martin led the Jacks with 17 kills. Junior Amy Anderson added 11 kills, and sophomore Mackenzie Angner finished with 10 kills, rounding out a balanced Jackrabbit offense.

Junior Samantha Pearson posted four service aces, as senior Minette Ridenour led the team with eight digs. Kristie Klusaw connected on 29 set assists, sharing the load with freshman Diedra Artz, who added 17 set assists.

Coach Andrew Palileo was not surprised by the way the Jacks played.

“We had seen them before, and I knew that if we handled the ball well, that we would beat them.”

The Jacks came up short in the second match against Utah Valley State, falling 30-28, 30-21 and 30-25. Martin again led SDSU with 10 kills and 8 digs. Anderson and sophomore Laura Slagter each connected on eight kills in the contest. Klusaw collected 33 set assists and added eight digs.

“Utah Valley was playing really well at the end of the season, and we weren’t quite playing well as a team. Our individual play was pretty good, but we struggled as a team,” Palileo said. “We knew that we would have to play well, and that we were playing two of the top four teams in the tournament. I felt comfortable with our match-ups. We just didn’t play as well as we would have liked.”

In the final match of the tournament, the Jacks lost for the second week in a row to North Dakota State University. The Jacks won the first game against NDSU, but lost the next three. In the NDSU match, Anderson led the team with 16 kills. Martin posted a double-double with 12 kills and 15 digs, and sophomore Emily Rooney added 10 kills to pace the Jacks offense. Pearson, the Jacks defensive libero, finished with 21 digs, and Klusaw earned 48 set assists.

Martin, an outside hitter, was named to the all-tournament team. SDSU’s lone member of the All-Tournament team racked up 39 kills and 27 digs on the weekend. Martin also led the Jacks this season with 446 kills, and was third on the team with 280 digs.

This season was the last season in which the volleyball team will be without a conference. Beginning next season, the Jacks will be one of the sports joining the Mid-Continent Conference.

“We’re really looking forward into going into that conference next year,” said Palileo.

After winning 22 games during the season, Palileo still feels the team needs to be better prepared next season.

“We have Division-I talent, now we just need more of a Division-I mentality.”