LAWRENCE, Kan. - South Dakota State junior Kelli Fiegen led the Jackrabbits to a 3-1 win over Belmont on Friday at the Jayhawk Invitational, setting a school record in the process. The defending Summit League Player of the Year, Fiegen led the Jacks with 17 kills, with no errors in 22 attempts for an SDSU 4-set record .773 hitting percentage.
"Our defensive focus was solid tonight," Fiegen said. "They put Lexi (Fowler) in a great position and Lexi put me in situations where I could be successful."
In her first season as the Jacks primary setter, sophomore Lexi Fowler finished the match with a career-high 47 set assists.
In addition to her 17 kills, Fiegen added five block assists to lead the Jacks. Kaitlin Klingemann and Ellyce Youngren both added 10 kills in the win, while Emily Palmer led the defense with 15 digs. Freshman Margit Hansing, who made her Jackrabbit debut in the first match of the day but did not record any stats, cracked the stat sheet for the first time with six kills and a block assist.
The Jackrabbits, who improve to 5-1 on the season, won by the set scores of 26-24, 17-25, 29-27 and 25-20. Belmont falls to 2-4 with the loss.
"Quite a battle tonight against a solid defensive team," head coach Phil McDaniel said after the match. "Our team defense was well-tested and responded well to the challenge, and our middle transition was fast and deliberate tonight."
Trailing throughout the first set, the Jacks trailed 23-20 when they rattled-off four straight points to take a 24-23 lead. The Bruins scored next to tie the set at 24-all, but a Fiegen kill and a Bruins hitting error gave the Jacks the 26-24 win.
Belmont ran away with the second set and led for much of the third set, but the Jackrabbits fought off three set-points and scored the last three points to win the extended set 29-27 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
SDSU brought that momentum into the fourth set and never trailed in the 25-20 win, which gave the Jacks the 3-1 win in the match.
The Jacks look to make it a 6-1 start to the season on Saturday, when they take on the host Jayhawks at 1 p.m.