Things didn't start well for the South Dakota State volleyball team on Friday in the first match of the Jackrabbit Invitational, but after falling into an 0-2 hole against Green Bay, the Jackrabbits fought back to beat the Phoenix in the final three sets to take the match 3-2, in front of a lively crowd of 543.
"I think Green Bay came out and played well those first two sets, they definitely controlled the tempo of the match," head coach Phil McDaniel said. "But in sets three, four and five, we were able to make some blocking adjustments and were able to refocus as a group on the game plan that we put in place before the match."
The Jacks fifth straight win, by the set scores of 24-26, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17 and 15-7, boosts their record to 7-2 on the season, while the visiting Phoenix fall to 3-5.
Kaitlin Klingemann led the Jackrabbit offense with 18 kills on the night, adding five block assists, for the Jacks, who won the blocking battle 15-10. Kelli Fiegen finished with 14 kills and a match-high eight block assists. Kelly Herrmann came up a kill shy of a double-double, finishing with nine to go along with her 22 digs and five block assists.
Carmen Leitermann led the Phoenix with 18 kills, Monica Anderson added 16 and Leah Van Zeeland 10 kills and 20 digs for one of two double-doubles in the match. The other one went to Green Bay setter Leah Poel, who posted a match-high 46 assists, adding 12 digs.
The teams played to 14 ties and four lead changes in the first set, but it looked like the Jacks would squeak out the win when they went up 24-22, with two tries at set point, but the Phoenix closed the set on a 4-0 run to go up 1-0 in the match.
The momentum on their side, the Phoenix jumped out to an early 11-4 lead in the second set. The Jacks kept fighting back, but couldn't quite close the gap. They did get within a point three times late in the set, but fell just short at 25-23.
In a 2-0 hole to start the third set, SDSU turned things around in a hurry. They didn't get their first lead in the set until they went up 4-3, but they never trailed after that, not only in the set, but also in the rest of the match.
SDSU opened the fourth set on a 6-0 run, and cruised to a 25-17 win. The fifth set started with a 9-2 run and never let up in completing the comeback with a 15-7 win.
Green Bay moves on to face Bradley on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Frost Arena, and then the Jackrabbits close the tournament against Bradley at 7 p.m.