Volleyball goes 2-1 in North Texas Invitational


Evan Patzwald, Assistant Sports Editor (He/Him)

The South Dakota State women’s volleyball team kicked off the 2021 season at the North Texas Invitational last weekend, winning two of its three matches.
The Jacks swept Grambling State on Friday morning before falling to host North Texas in four sets later that night. They wrapped up the tournament Saturday morning, sweeping McNeese State 3-0.
Game one of the tournament was one-sided as SDSU finished off Grambling State in an hour and three minutes, winning each set by scores of 25-12, 25-9, and 25-15.
The first set saw the Jackrabbits jump out to a commanding 16-4 lead, but the Tigers fought their way back, cutting the deficit to eight. SDSU closed out the set on a 7-2 run to take it 25-12.
After trailing early to start the second set, SDSU would answer on an 11-0 run and not look back for the rest of the match, holding the Tigers to nine points in the second set before finishing them off in the third set 25-15.
Crystal Burk led the Jacks with a match-high 10 kills and added three digs. Tatum Pickar notched 13 digs and two assists while Carly Wedel led the team in assists at 24.
Later that night, the Jacks went up against the Mean Green of North Texas. The teams split the first two sets before North Texas eventually closed out the match in four sets.
Against the Mean Green, Burk again led the team in kills with 15. Freshman Ella Thompson added 12 and graduate transfer Chloe Stitt notched 11. Pickar added 32 assists and 14 digs.
SDSU wrapped up their weekend against McNeese State on Saturday morning. The Jacks won the first two sets 25-20 and 25-15. In the third set, the Jacks trailed 18-21 before closing the set on an 8-1 run, sweeping the Cowgirls in three sets.
McNeese State finished the match with 35 kills but had 29 errors leading to a .060 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, the Jacks had 30 kills with only 11 errors.
Burk saw her streak of 13 consecutive matches with 10 or more kills come to an end, as she finished the match with eight kills, three aces and three blocks.
SDSU had strong showings from newcomers Thompson and Annalee Ventling-Brown as they each had six kills and eight combined blocks against McNeese State.
The Jackrabbits return to Brookings next weekend for their first home matches of the season as they host the SDSU Invitational. It will be the first of two tournaments the Jacks will be hosting this season. They are hosting two tournaments in one season for the first time since 2014. SDSU’s other host tournament will be the Jackrabbit Classic Sept. 17-18.

SDSU Invitational Schedule- Sept. 10-11

Game #1: SDSU vs. Montana – Fri. @ 11 a.m.
Game #2: California Baptist vs. Wichita State – Fri. @ 1 p.m.
Game #3: Montana vs. Wichita State – Fri. @ 5 p.m.
Game #4: SDSU vs. California Baptist – Fri. @ 7 p.m.
Game #5: Montana Vs. California Baptist – Sat. @ 11 a.m.
Game #6: SDSU vs. Wichita State – Sat. @ 1 p.m.