Volleyball busts out of losing streak

Spencer Chase

On a night dedicated to digging pink, the blue and yellow overcame a deficit to beat the black and red.

The SDSU volleyball team rebounded from its three-match losing streak to pick up a 3-1 Summit League victory over Omaha Oct. 12 at Frost Arena in Brookings.

“We know that our backs are a little against the wall,” SDSU head coach Phil McDaniel said. “We just have to make sure we protect our home court, and we’re going to have to sneak some wins on the road. This is step one of about six that we have to make.”

Omaha took the first set 25-17 with a combination of a strong performance on their part and a flat start from the Jacks. Senior Kelli Fiegen said Omaha was able to take advantage of the Jacks letting their guard down.

“I think some of it had to do with how well we played against them last time,” Fiegen said. “We kind of underestimated them a little bit. We just weren’t ready to come out and match their intensity. We just weren’t focused right off the bat.”

The Jacks were able to come back and battle for a 25-21 victory in the second set, scoring four unanswered points after the match was tied at 21. With the match tied 1-1, the Jacks took early control of the third set and never looked back, pushing onto a 25-10 victory.

“For us, it was just getting back into rhythm,” McDaniel said. “Our pace picked up, we were able to get our middles the ball a little more often in attacking situations, and they were able to do what they do, which is what gets kills for us.”

After dominating the third set, the Jacks picked up where they left off when they took a 3-2 lead and never gave it up, eventually winning the fourth set 25-16. The Jacks would win the match 3-1 and improve to 13-8 (5-4 Summit) and keep in the three-way tie for fourth in a very deep Summit League battle.

Offensively, the Jacks had three seniors finish with double-digit kills as Fiegen led with a match-high 15, Kaitlin Klingemann at 11 and Kelly Herrmann with 10. Defensively, the Jacks were led by libero Shay Birath, who set a four-set record with 32 digs on the night.

One of the more unusual occurrences of the night was Herrmann finishing with 11 digs and 999 career digs, just one short of becoming the 14th member of SDSU’s 1,000 digs club. Fiegen said it’s a near-milestone that’s been a result of consistency throughout Herrmann’s career.

“She’s been so consistent for us,” Fiegen said. “She’s working so hard, and you can always rely on Kelly Herrmann. She’s going to work hard … and give you all she’s got every night.”

Herrmann will likely achieve the milestone when the Jacks travel to take on Western Illinois on Oct. 19 and IUPUI Oct. 20.