Volleyball hopes to build on last season’s success

Chloe Risse, Reporter

The Jackrabbit volleyball team is excited to play with new players, new goals and a new amount of motivation this fall. 

 Over the weekend, the Jacks hosted an exhibition match against Augustana and played their Blue and Yellow Scrimmage in Frost Arena. These matches were scheduled to get the team into the groove of playing live-action volleyball and to give the South Dakota State  students and Brookings residents a chance to see what they can look forward to this season 

 SDSU had a winning season last year with an overall record of 19-12 and a Summit League record of 10-8. This was the first winning record the Jackrabbits had achieved since the 2012 season. Although this was a big accomplishment for the Jacks, they are looking for more this season.

 “Last season’s theme was ignition,” coach Dan Georgalas said. “We sold a vision to our players that if we could have a winning season, it would change the program for the next ten years.” 

 Georgalas will be returning for his third season as the Jackrabbits’ head coach. He has turned the team around and has taken them to an overall record of 25-23 and a Summit League record of 16-18 since coming to Brookings. 

 A couple common names that have come back to play for the Jackrabbits as fifth-year seniors are Crystal Burk and Sydney Andrews. 

 During the 2021 season, Burk was named to the All-Summit League First Team and Summit League Champion All-Tournament Team. She led the Jacks in kills with 442, averaged 3.75 kills per set and led the team with 37 ace serves throughout the season.  

 Andrews contributed to the Jackrabbits team by starting in 17 of their 26 matches a year ago. She was second on the team with 68 blocks and was fourth on the team in kills. She scored 2.09 points per game and had a .261 attack rate, which was second on the team. 

 The Jacks recruited three freshmen who will be joining the team this fall; Masa Scheierman (#3), Alia Schlimgen (#14) and Katie Van Egdom (#16).  

 Scheierman is a 6’1” outside hitter from York, Nebraska. As a junior and senior in high school, she competed in the Nebraska State Tournaments. Sheierman holds the record at York High School for career kills, digs and ace serves. She also holds the York single season kills record with 568 kills during her senior season.  

 Alia Schlimgen is a 5’5” defensive specialist from Sauk City, Wisconsin. Schlimgen was named first team all-state and all-conference as a senior. She was named the 2021 MVP for her hometown team. Before her senior year, Schlimgen led the state of Wisconsin as a sophomore in digs and has continued to put up numbers since. 

Katie Van Egdom is a 6’2” outside hitter from Sioux Falls, South Dakota She graduated from Sioux Falls Christian High School, averaged 3.51 kills and 3 digs per set as a senior and had a .325 attack rate. Van Egdom is a four-time Class A State Volleyball Champion, along with being a two-time Dakota XII all-conference honoree.  

“When I inherited this program two and a half years ago, we had no in-state players, and it is important to me to recruit our local talent,” Georgalas said. “We want to grow our fan base, and in order to do that, we want local players that fans can recognize and easily cheer for.” 

SDSU’s season opener will be at the Huskie Invitational, where they will take on UIC at 10 a.m. Aug. 26 and Northern Illinois at 6 p.m. The Jacks wrap up the tournament Aug. 27 against New Jersey Institute of Technology at 12 p.m. The tournament is hosted by Northern Illinois in Dekalb, Illinois.

 The team will then return to Brookings for its home opener with two matches against Eastern Washington at 6 p.m. Sep. 2 and 11 a.m. Sep. 3 as a part of the Comfort Suites Showcase.