Jacks make final trips to SUU and ORU
South Dakota State embarks on its final road trip of the 2011 season this weekend, when the Jackrabbits play their last-ever Summit League matches with future Big Sky Conference member Southern Utah on Thursday and future Southland Conference member Oral Roberts on Saturday. Both teams leave The Summit League at the end of the season for their new leagues.
The Jackrabbits, on the other hand, return to The Summit League next season, but did not qualify to make a return trip to The Summit League Tournament this season, after being eliminated from contention last weekend.
Mired in their second six-match losing streak of the season, the Jacks look to end that streak on Thursday against the Thunderbirds, who the Jacks beat to snap the first six-match skid on Oct. 8 in Frost Arena.
The streak hit six on Monday, when the Jackrabbits dropped a non-conference affair with North Dakota. Kaitlin Klingemann led the Jackrabbits with 10 kills in the
3-0 loss, adding three block assists. Kelli Fiegen finished with eight kills, which gives her 990 for her career, leaving her just 10 shy of reaching the 1,000-kill milestone. Fiegen also finished with four block assists and a pair of solo blocks.
Shay Birath led the Jackrabbit defense with 22 digs, and passed Sarah Simet (1,233 digs from 2001-14) for 10th on the all-time digs list at SDSU with 1,246.
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THE JACKRABBIT INSIDER ON FOX - Fans of South Dakota State Athletics can get a weekly behind-the-scenes look at all 21 Jackrabbit varsity sports teams by tuning into "The Jackrabbit Insider."
Hosted by Tyler Merriam, the show airs on Sundays on KTTW FOX 17 at 10:30 p.m., and can also be seen on Fox Sports North at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.
BIRATH NAMED DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK - Shay Birath captured her third career defensive player of the week honor on Sept. 19, after posting two double-digit dig matches on the weekend. She added her fourth career defensive player of the week honor on Oct. 17, after setting and SDSU 3-set record with 32 digs at Western Illinois and adding a 20 dig performance at IUPUI.
BIRATH and FIEGEN NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM - Juniors Shay Birath and Kelli Fiegen both earned all-tournament team honors after leading the Jacks to a 3-1 record at the season-opening SpringHill Suites Invitational hosted by Georgia Southern. Birath led the Jacks with 81 digs and added four services aces, while Fiegen led SDSU with 54 kills, a .357 hitting percentage and 10 total blocks.
KLINGEMANN and FIEGEN NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM - Juniors Kaitlin Klingemann and Kelli Fiegen both earned all-tournament team honors after leading the Jacks to a 2-1 record at the Jayhawk Invitational hosted by Kansas. Klingemann recorded 21 kills nine digs and six block assists in the three matches, while Fiegen led the Jacks with 34 kills, a .368 hitting percentage and 13 total blocks.
FIEGEN NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM - Kelli Fiegen posted 57 kills, including a career-high 22 against Arkansas State, over the weekend at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational hosted by Missouri State and added 16 total blocks, six solo and 10 block assists, all of which earned her all-tournament team honors for the third weekend in a row.
FIEGEN SWINGS HERSELF TO 4-SET RECORD - Kelli Fiegen led SDSU with 17 kills in the Jacks 3-1 win over Belmont on Sept. 3, and set a new SDSU 4-set hitting percentage record in the process with 17 kills and no errors in 22 swings, good for a .773 attack percentage. Fiegen breaks the mark of .667 (13-1-18) set by Emily Rooney at Sam Houston State on Sept. 1, 2007.
BIRATH SETS 3-SET DIGS RECORD - Shay Birath led the Jackrabbits with 32 digs in the Jacks 3-0 loss at Western Illinois on Oct. 14, but those 32 digs mark a new 3-set record, topping the old record of 28, set by Samantha Pearson vs. Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 31, 2007.
YOUNGREN JOINS THE 1,000-Kills CLUB - Jackrabbit senior Ellyce Youngren entered the 2011 season with 903 career kills, 97 shy of becoming the 14th member of the SDSU 1,000-Kills Club. Her smash down the right line in the Jacks 3-2 win over IUPUI on Sept. 16, not only gave the Jacks the third-set win, but it gave her exactly 1,000 kills for her career. She enters the weekend with 1,100 kills, 38 shy of passing Lisa Freichels (1,137 kills from 1989-93) for 13th all-time at SDSU
FIEGEN NEARS 1,000 KILL MILESTONE - Kelli Fiegen needs to top her season-best mark of 352 kills, set in 2010, by five kills to reach the 1,000 kill milestone, but if the defending Summit League Player of the Year can record 10 more kills this season, she would not only become the 15th member of the 1,000-Kills Club, but also become the sixth member to reach the mark as a junior.
BIRATH JOINS THE 1,000-DIGS CLUB - Shay Birath took over the starting libero spot as a sophomore in 2010 and led the team with 556 digs, which boosted her career total to 712 and left her 288 digs shy of becoming the 13th member of the SDSU 1,000-Digs Club, and just the fifth member of the club to reach the milestone as a junior. Birath joined the club on Sept. 24, at Oakland, and enters the weekend with 1,246 career digs, good for 10th all-time at SDSU, and just 37 shy of passing Linda Fusco (1,282 digs from 1989-92) for ninth all-time.
THIS WEEK'S COMPETITION
Southern Utah Thunderbirds (8-18, 5-10 Summit) - After sweeping a Summit League weekend at home two weeks ago, the Thunderbirds dropped a pair of league road matches last weekend at IPFW and Oakland, dashing their postseason chances.
Analaine Mailoto leads the SUU offense with 425 kills and with 307 digs this season. She also adds 47 total blocks and ranks second on the team with 23 service aces. Kylie Schofield adds 220 kills and 59 digs, while Cashaana Renfro enters the weekend with an even 200 kills and a team-high 100 total blocks.
The Series vs. Southern Utah - The Jackrabbits lead the all-time series 3-1 after splitting a pair of five set thrillers last season, when each team rallied on the road for a win. SDSU swept the season series in 2009.
The First Meeting, Oct. 8; Frost Arena - SDSU not only snapped a season-long six match losing streak with a 3-1 win over Southern Utah, the Jackrabbits also ended the first half of The Summit League schedule on a high note, downing the Thunderbirds 25-17, 25-21, 23-25 and 25-16.
Ellyce Youngren tied a season-high with 14 kills to lead the Jackrabbits and added a match-high four block assists. She also finished with a solo block, six digs and a pair of service aces. Kelli Fiegen hit .500 in the match, posting 13 kills in 24 swings with just one error. She also finished with two of the Jacks eight aces.
Kaitlin Klingemann added 12 kills in the win, while Shay Birath led the defense with 21 digs. Lexi Fowler completed her fourth straight double-double, and seventh of the season, with 42 assists and 15 digs.
Analaine Mailoto and Kylie Schofield both finished with 12 kills to lead the T-birds in the loss. Mailoto added 17 digs, while Davia Lee her team with 25 digs.
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (19-6, 12-3 Summit) - The leader at the halfway point of The Summit League season, the Golden Eagles 12-match winning streak met a quick end last weekend with road losses at Oakland and IPFW.
Their spot in The Summit League Tournament already locked up, the Golden Eagles look to sweep the season series with North Dakota State on Thursday and regain the top spot in the league standings.
Elizabeth McVicker leads the ORU attack with 266 kills and with 102 total blocks. She also enters the weekend with 101 digs and 19 service aces. Olivia Ophus comes in with 207 kills on the season, and ranks second on the team with 264 digs and with 23 aces. Sheina Fernandes adds 207 kills and 53 blocks. Setter Laura Taylor leads the way with 1,004 assists and with 31 aces, and Bruna Silva leads the defense with 547 digs.
The Series vs. Oral Roberts - The Golden Eagles lead the all-time series 6-3 after beating the Jacks in the first meeting this season and after the two teams split the season series in 2010. ORU down the Jacks 3-1 on Sept. 26, in Tulsa, Okla., while the Jacks won the second meeting of the season 3-2 on Nov. 11, at Frost Arena, which kept their Summit League Tournament hopes alive.
The First Meeting, Oct. 7; Frost Arena - SDSU fell into an early 0-2 hole against Oral Roberts, but the Jackrabbits fought back to force a fifth set, only to fall to the Golden Eagles 15-10 in the deciding stanza for the Jacks sixth straight loss.
Kelly Herrmann led the Jackrabbits in the loss with a career-high 16 kills, with a career-high 50 attacks, with just one error for an even .300 hitting percentage. She also posted 14 digs for her third double-double of the season and fifth of her career.
Kelli Fiegen finished with 14 kills, adding three solo blocks, two block assists and a career-high three service aces. Kaitlin Klingemann pitched in with 11 kills, while Lexi Fowler finished with 43 set assists and 12 digs for her sixth career double-double and third in as many matches.
Elizabeth McVicker led four Golden Eagles with double-digit kills with a match-high 20. Jessica Pancratz finished with 12, Olivia Ophus 11 and Joana Gruber 10 kills in the win. Ophus added 16 digs for the double-double.
NEXT UP FOR THE JACKRABBITS - The Jackrabbits return home for the final three matches of the season, starting with No. 12 Northern Iowa on Monday followed by matches against UMKC on Friday and South Dakota on Saturday.