SDSU earns weekend split at Chicago State Tournament

By Andrew Holtan Sportswriter

The SDSU Volleyball team was on the road this weekend in Chicago, Ill. for the Chicago State University Tournament.

The Jacks headed into the tournament with a record of 4-8. Their first match of the tournament was against San Jose State University whom they fell to by a score of three sets to two.

They bounced back in the second match of the tournament, defeating UMass Lowell three sets to two. It was sent to the fifth and final set where the Jacks prevailed, winning 15-10.

Junior middle blocker Wagner Larson led the team 14 kills in the win. Sophomores Tiara Gibson and Kacey Herrmann both had 10 kills.

The Jacks fell in their third match of the tournament to Grand Canyon University losing all three sets 25-22, 25-16 and 25-16.

SDSU won their final match of the tournament, beating the tournament’s host, Chicago State, three sets to two. The Jackrabbits fell behind early, losing the first two sets 25-20 and 25-17.

They then found a way to win the next two sets 25-23 and 25-17 sending it to the fifth and final set. The fifth set was tightly contested but the Jacks edged out a narrow victory by winning 16-14.

“It was really about what we were doing and weren’t doing versus what Chicago State was doing to us [what happened in the first two sets],” head coach Phil McDaniel said “Once we took the intermission and came out with a little more passion and energy and gave that energy into the game we really took over. … It was a huge win and a win we definitely needed.” 

Larson once again led the team with 12 kills which ended up sending her to the All-Tournament team for the second tournament in a row.

“She’s been big for us all year; she’s a force in the middle.” McDaniel said. “When we’re passing well and give her the ball, she can do a lot of big things for us.”

The Jacks have already surpassed their win total from last season which was only five.

“It’s a nice achievement but it’s certainly not our end goal,” McDaniel said. “We got a lot more that we want to achieve especially heading into conference.”

 The Jacks now move into their conference part of the schedule having earned a non-conference record of 6-10.

“It’s going to be a tough conference for everybody, it’s pretty evenly spread out,” McDaniel said.  “When you get to conference all bets are off and your previous records don’t matter and everybody has a chance to beat everybody. … We have to come out and play our best every single time for each conference match.”

The Jacks kick off conference play Friday in Tulsa, Okla. where they face Oral Roberts at 7p.m. Their first home conference game is on Sunday