Volleyball shows improvement, drops three matches in Wichita

The SDSU volleyball team went 0-3 in the Shockers Volleyball Classic in Wichita, KS hosted by Wichita State University over the weekend where they lost all three games.

“It was a rough weekend as far as competition goes but I think we competed hard, we competed well, teams had to beat us, playing against competition like that that’s all I can ask.” Head Coach Nicole Cirillo said. “We did some things very well, always things that we can work on, but overall happy with the way we performed over the weekend.”

The Jacks fell in their first game to the tournament’s host WSU in three sets by scores of 9-25,9-25, and 12-25. 

SDSU then took on the Texas State University Bobcats where they split the first two sets by the score of 25-22 and 22-25. They then were defeated in the next two sets 13-25 and 12-25. 

“Texas State evolved and we did not.” Cirillo said. “After the break they changed their gameplan a little bit and we just couldn’t combat it, we didn’t play worse or do anything different but they definitely got better.” she added.

In the finale of the tournament the Jackrabbits took on the No.7 ranked team in the American Volleyball Coaches Association, the University of Illinois Fighting Illini. The Jacks would fall in three sets by score of 15-25, 9-25 and 14-25.

Ashley Beaner led the team in kills over the weekend with 26 including double digits in the final two games. “She just kind of came alive and we were able to give her the ball, being left-handed on the right side allowed her create openings and she took advantage of them.” Cirillo said.

The Jackrabbits are in the final third of a grueling stretch of 12 straight road games. During this stretch they’ve faced Illinois, Wichita State which has received votes to be in the top 25, University of Iowa and Texas Tech University. 

“They’re definitely challenging us with not only being on the road but also the caliber of opponents we’re playing against, it definitely builds character as a team, it’s hard enough to play against teams like that but it’s even harder to play them on the road,” Cirillo said.

All in all Cirillo thinks this stretch of tough road opponents will help her team down the road. “It’s definitely preparing us for conference, I strongly feel we’re still moving forward as a program and I think once we play ‘more normal’ teams that my hope is that what we’ve learned playing against these top 25 programs will translate into more wins.” she said.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Jackrabbits as they head to Lawrence, Kan. this weekend where they will be in the Jayhawk Invitational hosted by the 17th ranked team in the AVCA poll.

“A lot of focus right now is our defense, our blocking in connection with our setters, we need to create more holes, that’s how we’re going to be able to compete with the bigger teams, we are passing a lot better now, but we want to run a more quicker offense to beat these teams, we want a bigger distribution between our front row.” Cirillo said.

The Jacks open conference play  with back to back home games September 25th and 26th when they take on the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Oral Roberts University.