Volleyball to take on Mavericks and Pioneers

Trenton Abrego

After going 1-2 at the Owl Classic in Boca Raton, Florida, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits will open up Summit League play this weekend.

Last year, the Jacks went defeated in Summit League play last year and won just three sets in their 16 games against conference foes.

This weekend, the Jacks will play host to the Omaha Mavericks (5-7) and then travel to Denver to take on the Pioneers (11-1).

In their last five matches, the Mavericks are 2-3 with wins over North Texas and Milwaukee.

Omaha has eight freshman on their roster and three transfer students. There are also nine returners on the roster.

“Omaha is an interesting team,” Cirillo said. “ … [T]he majority of their team is brand new.”

The last time the Jackrabbits beat the Mavericks was Sept. 30, 2016, when they swept Omaha in Frost Arena.

After the Mavericks make an appearance at Frost Arena, the Jacks will be on the road to take on the Summit League favorites, Denver Pioneers.

The lone loss on the season for the Pioneers came against the Utah Utes in five sets.

“Denver is a good team, period,” Cirillo said.

According to the NCAA Women’s Volleyball RPI (rating percentage index), the Pioneers are No. 57, while the Jacks are No. 318 out of 334 teams.

It’s been nearly four years since the Jacks have won a set against the Pioneers. That came on Oct. 3, 2014, where the Jacks fell 3-1.

“My expectation is that we go and compete,” Cirillo said. “I am not expecting to go and win, I’m not expecting to go and lose.”

The first serve for the Jacks is 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 in Frost Arena against the Omaha Mavericks. The Denver game begins 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23 in Denver, Colorado.