Jacks Volleyball looking to get back-to-back wins

SCOTT ENGEN Sports Reporter

The South Dakota State volleyball team won their fourth match of the season on Friday against Fort Wayne. They won the match in four sets at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.

They lost the first set 15-25, but bounced back and won the next three sets. The scores were 25-18, 25-17, 25-22.

“We served tough to make their offense more predictable and our offense was extremely good,” Said Head Coach Nicole Cirillo. The Jacks hit .320 for the match and kept a good pass throughout the match.

Senior Ashley Beaner led the team with 18 kills and freshman Makenzie Hennen tallied 14. Sophomore Mattison Munger had a double-double with 47 set assists and a team-high 18 digs. Ellie Benson, junior defensive specialist, added 16 digs as well.

 “Ashley Beaner and Kenzie Hennen had fantastic matches, but the person who stands out to me the most is Ashlynn Smith,” Cirillo said.

Smith had nine kills and no errors in the match on 12 attempts. She also hit .750 and had five block assists. 

“This one was one of the first matches that I really felt like we were utilizing her in the way that I want to, and she was also rising to the occasion of putting the ball away,” Cirillo said.

The team struggled in set one but made adjustments for the following sets. “We had some strong discussions during and after set one and challenged the team to learn and move on, and they took it and ran with it,” Cirillo said.

The Jacks limited their errors to 16 for the entire match, compared to Fort Wayne’s 23. SDSU also doubled the opponent’s block total with 10. 

The Jacks will look to continue their success Friday night in Omaha. 

The Jacks beat Omaha once this year already. The two teams squared off for the first time Sept. 30 when SDSU swept the match 3-0.  

“If we can jump on them early and gain control of the match, I think we’ll be fine,” Cirillo said. “Confidence, along with the fact that we’ve been playing well, will really help us in this match.” Cirillo said.

Omaha comes into the match with an overall record of 5-21 and a record of 2-10 in the Summit League, which is second to last in the league. The Jacks are 4-20 overall and 3-9 in the league.  

Coach Cirillo said the Jacks will look to build on their recent success and finish the season strong. SDSU will only have four more matches after their face-off with Omaha.

The game starts Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Baxter Arena in Omaha.