The South Dakota State volleyball team kicks off the 2012 season, and the second year of the Phil McDaniel era, on Friday against Southeast Missouri State at 2 p.m. in the first for four matches at the Hawkeye Challenge, hosted by Iowa.
The Jackrabbits then take on the host Hawkeyes on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a match against Chicago State on Saturday at 10 a.m., before closing the season-opening weekend on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the first of two meetings this season against Valparaiso, who the Jacks also play on Sept. 26, in Valparaiso, Ind.
McDaniel and the Jackrabbits look to rebound from a 2011 campaign that saw the team compile a 13-20 overall record and a 5-13 mark in Summit League play.
The Jackrabbit roster features six seniors, led by 2010 Summit League Player of the Year and 2011 first team all-conference selection Kelli Fiegen at middle blocker and libero Shay Birath, who enters the season on pace to break the SDSU record for career digs.
In total, SDSU returns four starters and its libero, and a total of nine letterwinners from the 2011 squad. The 2012 roster also includes two each in the junior and sophomore class, three redshirt freshmen and three true freshmen.
THE JACKRABBIT EXTRA ON GoJacks.com - Subscribers to the Jackrabbit Extra on GoJacks.com can watch all SDSU home and select road volleyball matches streaming live on the internet.
To subscribe to the Jackrabbit Extra, log onto GoJacks.com and click on "SIGN UP NOW"
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.
The Jackrabbit Insider premiers on Sept. 2.
FIEGEN CLIMBING ALL-TIME KILLS LADDER - Kelli Fiegen posted 21 kills at Southern Utah on Nov. 3, 2011 to become the 15th member of the SDSU 1,000-Kills Club and just the sixth member to reach the mark as a junior. Now a senior, Fiegen begins the season with 1,065 career kills, 73 shy of passing Lisa Freichels (1,137 kills from 1989-93) for 14th all-time at SDSU.
KLINGEMANN POISED TO REACH 1,000 KILL MILESTONE - Kaitlin Klingemann recorded 304 kills in 2011 as a junior, giving her 762 in her career and leaving her 238 kills shy of becoming the 16th member of the SDSU 1,000-Kills Club.
BIRATH CHASING ALL-TIME DIGS RECORD - Shay Birath became 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, at Oakland on Sept. 24, 2011. Birath finished her junior season with 641 digs, which gives her 1,353 for her career, good for fifth all-time and 577 shy of the SDSU career record.
HERRMANN ON PACE TO JOIN 1,000-DIGS CLUB - After posting more than 300 digs in each of the last two seasons, senior Kelly Herrmann enters her senior season with 746 career digs, which leaves her 254 digs shy of becoming the 14th member of the SDSU 1,000-Digs Club.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS
Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (0-0) - Picked to finish third in the Ohio Valley preseason poll, the Redhawks did get a pair of first place votes in the poll behind favorite Morehead State and Belmont, which finished second in the poll without any first place votes.
The Redhawks finished fourth in the Ohio Valley in 2011 with a 14-19 overall record and a 12-9 mark in conference play under first-year head coach Julie Folliard.
The Series vs. Southeast Missouri State - The Jackrabbits won the first and only meeting between the two teams, a season-opening 3-1 win on Aug. 29, 2008 at the Blue Raider Bash in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Iowa Hawkeyes (0-0) - After posing a 1-19 mark in Big Ten play and finishing in a tie for 11th in the 12-team league in 2011, the Hawkeyes did not make the top six in the 2012 Big Ten preseason poll.
Iowa finished the 2011 season with a 11-22 overall record under fourth-year head coach Sharon Digman, who enters her 22nd season as a head coach in 2012 with a 381-291 career record and a 45-81 record at Iowa.
The Series vs. Iowa -The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 2-0, including a 2-0 win at the Drake Invitational in October of 1978, and a 3-1 win on Sept. 4, 2009 at the Green Bay Classic, in Green Bay, Wis.
Chicago State Cougars (0-0) - The Cougars finished the 2011 season with a 3-28 record, with two of those wins coming in Great West Conference play. The three-win season represents an improvement over the 2010 season, when the Cougars finished the season with an 0-33 mark.
The Great West Conference did not release a preseason poll for 2012.
The Series vs. Chicago State - First Meeting
Valparaiso Crusaders (0-0) - Picked to finish third in the Horizon League's preseason poll, the Crusaders finished the 2011 season in fourth place in the league with a 9-7 record.
Valparaiso finished the 2011 season with a 20-15 overall record under head coach Carin Avery, who enters her 11th season at Valparaiso with a 241-96 record at the school, and a 296-120 record in 12 years as a head coach.
The Series vs. Valparaiso - The Jackrabbits won the first and only meeting between the two teams 3-0, on Sept. 9, 2006 at the Cyclone Classic in Ames, Iowa.
NEXT UP FOR THE JACKRABBITS - The Jacks return to the road next week for a trio of matches in Spokane, Wash., at the Gonzaga Tournament. SDSU opens the weekend on Friday, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. PT against the host Bulldogs, and then plays Eastern Washington on Saturday at 11 a.m. PT, before wrapping up the tournament against UC Riverside on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT.