Volleyball returns home after losing two straight games


Joclyn Haven

Outside hitter Crystal Burk spikes the ball over the net against North Dakota earlier this season. Burk had 18 kills and 10 digs in SDSU’s latest game against Oral Roberts.

Chloe Risse, Reporter

South Dakota State’s volleyball team is looking to turn the momentum around this week at Frost Arena after a tough road trip south and a two-game losing streak.

The Jacks were swept at Kansas City last Thursday, then fell short at Oral Roberts two days later.

SDSU lost to the Kangaroos 25-12, 25-21, 25-21 as they struggled to get anything started with nine attack errors in the first set. Although they lost the next two sets, they made the Kangaroos work harder for the victory. Senior Crystal Burk led SDSU with 13 kills while Ella Thompson and Akeela Jefferson each had six kills. Tatum Pickar led the defense with 16 digs.

The Jacks lost 3-2 (18-25, 25-19, 25-13, 15-25, 11-15) to Oral Roberts Saturday.  After dropping the first set to Oral Roberts, the Jacks caught some momentum by winning the next two. The final two sets went to the Golden Eagles.

“We put ourselves in a hole,” coach Dan Georgalas said. “Oral Roberts carried the momentum.”

Burk achieved a double-double against Oral Roberts with 18 kills and 10 digs. Sydney Andrews also had a big part to play with 13 kills and four blocks.

The Jack’s plan to change their momentum this week with three home games against Western Illinois, St. Thomas and North Dakota State. Georgalas and Burk emphasized the advantage of playing at home.

 “The team feeds off the crowd’s energy,” Georgalas said.

Burk said: “We are so supported and have the community behind us. The energy is amazing.”

The next three games are important to the Jacks because they are currently only 1-3 in the Summit League. Oral Roberts sits atop the conference standings at 4-0.

“This is a 10-day stretch we need to take advantage of,” Georgalas said.

Georgalas said that he had a similar game plan going into every game. He focuses on the things he knows can be controlled. To be successful, the team needs to “dictate” the momentum of the match and not dwell on the negatives, he said.

Burk said how important it is to not put any team on a “pedestal.” She said that each team was just a number on their schedule and each game should be approached the same way.

“Leave all the extra biases aside,” Burk said.

SDSU plays longtime rival NDSU Oct. 12 at Frost Arena. The player to look out for on NDSU’s team is Ali Hinze. She leads the Bison in kills and was named the Summit League Freshman of the Year last year. 

Georgalas’s plan to slow down Hinze includes “breaking down” just one of her many skills. That way, Hinze will not be doing everything well at one time.

The Jacks are looking forward to next week ahead and plan on a successful homestand.

“We go into every match knowing we can compete with every team and knowing we can win,” Georgalas said.

Burk said: “I am just excited to get after it.”