Tough loss ends Jackrabbits season
South Dakota State erased a six-point deficit in the second set of Saturday's season finale against South Dakota to win 26-24, and then came back from a seven-point deficit in the fourth set to force extra points, but the Jackrabbits dropped that set 31-29 and the match 3-1.
The loss by the full set scores of 23-25, 26-24, 21-25 and 29-31 ends the Jacks season with a 13-20 overall record and a 5-13 record in The Summit League. South Dakota's season ends with a 14-18 overall record and a 7-11 mark in league play.
"We got great contributions from multiple players tonight, and we fought hard at the end, but it was a case of too little, too late tonight," head coach Phil McDaniel said. "The season ended on a disappointing note, and I'm going to let that sink for a few weeks before I start preparing for what I believe will be a promising 2012 season."
Kelli Fiegen led the Jackrabbits with 18 kills in the loss and added a match-high five block assists. Kaitlin Klingemann finished with 14 kills and Ellyce Youngren, playing in her final match, finished with 11 kills, eight digs and tied a season-high with three service aces. Youngren finishes her career ranked 13th on SDSU's all-time kills list with 1,144.
"I just want to thank the fans, the Brookings community and the SDSU Athletic Department for being so supportive and giving me the opportunity to play volleyball at SDSU. I couldn't have done it without them," Youngren said after her final match as a Jackrabbit. "It's been a great four years and a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something like this, it's really special to me."
Shay Birath finished with 21 digs, and ends the season ranked fifth on the all-time digs list at SDSU with 1,353, just seven shy of fourth place, and on pace to break the all-time mark of 1,929, set by Samantha Pearson from 2004-07.
Emily Palmer's career also came to an end on Saturday. She posted 13 digs and added a service ace in her final match in a Jackrabbit uniform.
"We haven't always had best record or won any championships, but playing at South Dakota State was the most rewarding experience for me," Palmer said of her Jackrabbit career. "The last four years flew by, and I wouldn't trade any record or any championship for my teammates."
Kendall Kritenbrink led the visiting Coyotes with 18 kills and added 12 digs for a double-double. Amber Aschoff added 17 kills and Tahnee Reed 12 kills in the win, which also ends the Coyotes season.