Volleyball Reports for Training Camp Saturday
BROOKINGS, S.D.—The South Dakota State volleyball team reports for training camp Saturday in preparation for its 49th season beginning August 29.
With five starters, 11 letterwinners and seven newcomers on the roster, fourth-year head coach Phil McDaniel and his staff are excited to get two-a-days started.
“This time of the year is always exciting. We are eager to get the players back to campus and in the gym to begin training,” McDaniel said. “We have 18 days to integrate the new players and staff into our system and begin to develop the cohesiveness that we will need to have to compete in The Summit League.”
With the anticipation of starting a new season, the Jackrabbits are hoping for a postseason run and making 2014 a year to remember for the South Dakota State faithful.
Senior Margit Hansing talks about the Jackrabbits’ chemistry.
“We are excited to start the season. As a team, we are great at motivating each other every time we step on the court. Positive communication allows us to lift each other up. Good energy is contagious,” she said. “Working together and trusting each other to handle our respective jobs will make us a hard team to stop.”
The 2014 roster features Hansing, the Jacks’ lone senior, four juniors, including a junior college transfer, and three sophomores who saw significant time on the court last season.
An outside hitter, Hansing (Urbandale, Iowa) is expected to return to the starting lineup after suffering an injury that sidelined her last year. In 2012, she started 27 of 29 matches and collected 203 kills, 20 service aces and 36 blocks, and averaged 3.25 digs.
Middle blocker Wagner Larson (Sioux Falls) led the Jacks with a .250 hitting percentage, 2.59 kills per set and 66 blocks and is slated for the starting lineup.
Junior college transfer Carley Gerving (Rapid City) is expected to challenge for a starting spot on the right side. The 6-foot-3 Gerving recorded 172 assists, 234 kills and 76 blocks in 2013 at Sheridan College in 2013. She was an all-conference selection and named to the Region IX All-Tournament Team.
Defensively, junior Lizzie Palmer (Sioux Falls) will be defending her libero position in the preseason after leading the Jacks in digs (3.24). Classmate Alanna Pengilly (Watertown) is Palmer’s toughest competitor for the starting spot. She played in all 27 matches and averaged 2.17 digs per set.
In addition to the junior class, McDaniel welcomes seven sophomores and five freshmen to the squad. Three of the sophomores started last season.
Sophomore Tiara Gibson played her way onto The Summit League’s All-Freshman team in 2013. The 6-3 middle blocker led the Jackrabbits with 69 total blocks, including 8 solo blocks and 61 block assists, and finished second on the team with 161 kills and a .226 hitting percentage in all matches, and 102 kills and a .306 hitting percentage in league play.
Outside hitters Kacey Herrmann (Rapid City) and Mikala Hora (Yankton) are back for their sophomore seasons. Herrmann started all 27 matches and averaged 3.23 digs while collecting 129 kills, while Hora started 21 matches and averaged 1.69 kills and 1.78 digs per set.
The Jacks open the season vs. UMBC in the UMES Tournament in Princess Anne, Md., Aug. 29-30. It marks the ninth season SDSU has started the season on the road at a tournament. The Jackrabbits will also face Weber State, Fairleigh Dickinson and host UMES.
South Dakota State plays its annual Yellow/Blue Scrimmage Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. in Frost Arena.