Jackrabbits secure playoff spot

Chloe Risse, Sports Reporter

ntly sit fifth in the Summit League standings, tied with North Dakota.

SDSU will be hosting both North Dakota teams in the upcoming week and are looking to add a couple more wins to better its seed as it heads into the tournament. 

The Jackrabbits will start their final stretch by playing North Dakota Thursday at 7 p.m. 

The Fighting Hawks are 12-15 on the season and 9-7 in the conference. UND is on a four-game losing streak in the conference with their last win being against Kansas City Oct. 29. The Jackrabbits traveled to UND earlier this season and came up with the win in four sets.

The Fighting Hawks are skilled on offense with three hitting powerhouses. Sophomore Ashlyn Olson, junior Elizabeth Norris and graduate student Sierra Ward have put up over 200 kills a piece on the season. Graduate student Marissa Stockman leads the team on defense with 97 blocks. Ward and Olson follow Stockman in blocking with 41 and 49 blocks respectively.

As a team, the Fighting Hawks lead their opponents in one stat line; blocks. They are averaging 1.9 blocks per set to their opponents’ 1.8. They average 11.8 kills per set in comparison to their opponents at 12.2 kills per set. They also fall behind their opponents in aces, averaging 1.3 per set against the average, 1.6.

After playing the Fighting Hawks Thursday, the Jacks will stay in Brookings to take on the other North Dakota team, NDSU. The Bison are third in the Summit League standings with an overall record of 19-9 and a conference record of 12-4. Their last win was against Omaha in a five-set match Nov. 10. The Jackrabbits beat the Bison earlier in the season in four sets when they traveled to Fargo.

North Dakota State also has some powerhouses when it comes to hitting. Senior Syra Tanchin leads the Bison in overall kills on the court with 378 this season. This is followed by junior Ali Hinze at 375. Hinze is the player to watch out for the season, as she also leads the team on defense by averaging 2.95 digs per set and has the most aces on the season with 30.

Overall, the Bison lead their opponents in kills, assists, aces, digs and solo blocks. They have achieved 1,496 kills on the season compared to their opponents’ 1,360. The other impressive statistic for the Bison is their digging. They lead their opponents by over 200 digs on the season. 

The Jackrabbits are on a roll, winning their last five games in the league. Their last loss was against South Dakota Oct. 28. Fifth year senior Crystal Burk has been leading the team all season in kills and aces. Burk has 497 kills on the season and 28 service aces. Sophomore Ella Thompson has also been putting up kills this season with 214 kills. Sydney Andrews has continued to lead the team on defense with 102 blocks this season, followed by Thompson with 80. Jadyn Makovicka has contributed to the defense with 365 digs, which is followed closely by Burk with 361.

“It is great to finish with some momentum,” coach Dan Georgalas said. “We really feel like we are peaking here towards the last week of the regular season.” 

The Jackrabbits lead their opponents in aces, digs and solo blocks. The SDSU defense has really shone through for the Jacks this season and has contributed to a lot of the wins on the season. They average 16 digs per set compared to their opponents’ 15.7. They average 1.5 aces compared to their opponents’ at 1.3. Their block at the net has been substantial, leading their teams by 0.2 blocks per set.

The Jacks will host UND at 7 p.m. Thursday, and Senior Day for the team will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday before the match against the Bison.

“We have five seniors who have done so much for this program, and I am excited that our season is finished the way that it is, and I really hope that Jackrabbit nation comes out and supports them this last weekend,” Georgalas said.