BROOKINGS – The South Dakota State volleyball team improved to 10-6 overall and 2-3 in the Summit League Thursday night after defeating Western Illinois 3-2 at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits took the first two sets by the score of 25-23 before falling to Leathernecks 25-21 in the third set. SDSU would then win the match in the fourth set with a 25-17 victory.
Even though his team won, SDSU head coach Dan Georgalas said he thought his team could have played better.
“[We were] inconsistent at times and that comes on me,” Georgalas said. “I’ve got to put them in an elite competitive state and I think we had our foot about halfway on the gas at time, and we snuck away with a couple of wins and they took one from of us that they shouldn’t have.
“So I take the responsibility, not to disrespect Western, we know that their a better team than what their record indicates. We know their a better team than what they look like on film. Credit to them, they passed very well and definitely earned they set they won.”
SDSU and WIU (3-14, 2-4) were tied 11-11 in the fourth set and the Jacks went on a 8-2 run to make it 19-13. The Leathernecks cut it to 20-17, but the Jacks won the next five points to take the match.
Georgalas said his team played with more intensity in the fourth set.
“We finally started to show a little passion and a little fire and a little energy. I thought we were a little flat with that tonight and that comes back to my responsibility of getting them to compete at a higher level,” he said.
True freshman Jasmine Weidemann started her first match in her career at setter and played very well. The Lakeville, Minn., native had 48 assists and nine digs on the night.
“[Weidemann] did well. She ran a good offense. We hit .241 off of her in her first start as a true freshman. She did a really good job and gave people the ball where they needed it, and a lot of credit to her. I thought she had a very calm energy about her and was very poise tonight in the tight moments,” Georgalas said.
The Jacks had 58 kills and 51 assists as a team. They had 72 digs, 16 blocks and 10 service aces.
Chloe Stitt led the Jacks with 18 kills and nine digs. Crystal Burk had a double-double with 11 kills and 12 digs. Tatum Pickar had 24 digs and six service aces. Sydney Andrews had nine kills and Ella Thompson had 10. Elyse Winter had nine kills and six digs.
Brittany Wulf had 11 kills for the Leathernecks. Maggie Craker had 40 assists and 11 digs. Kennedy Davis had 11 kills and Emma Norris had 10. Karli Wenzel had 17 digs and Gabby Depersio had 10. Erika Moore and Aubrey Putman each had 10 digs.
The Leathernecks had 51 kills and 44 assists. They had 73 digs and 11 blocks.
Up next, the Jackrabbits will host Summit League newcomer St. Thomas on Saturday. The Tommies will enter the match with a record of 2-14 overall and 1-5 in the conference. Their two wins came in five sets against Incarnate Word and North Dakota.
This will be the first meeting between the two schools. UST is in the first year of a five-year transitioning period from Division III to Division I. Georgalas said the Jacks can’t overlook the Tommies.
“We know that [St. Thomas] has a really good left side that leads them in kills. They were a very successful program at D-III where they’re coming from. So all the film the coaches have watched, we know we respect them and we know again that’s a team that is a lot better than their record. It’s a football, volleyball doubleheader Saturday, we have to do a better job of pushing out all the distractions and come in and play with our foot on the gas from the first serve,” he said.
First set is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.