IOWA CITY, Iowa - The South Dakota State volleyball team used a series of runs to win the first and second sets of the season opener against Southeast Missouri State, and then hung on in the third set to complete the sweep by the set scores of 25-15, 25-15 and 25-22 at the Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City, Iowa.
"It's certainly nice to get the first win of the season," head coach Phil McDaniel said after the match. "I thought we blocked well for the most part and made good adjustments blocking. We were also balanced, which makes us more difficult to defend."
The Jackrabbit win gives them a 1-0 record on the young season, while the Redhawks fall to 0-2 after falling to Valparaiso by the score of 3-1 earlier in the day.
A 4-0 Jackrabbit run in the first set boosted a two-point SDSU lead to six points at 12-6, and a 3-0 run later in the set, capped by a back-to-back services aces from Lizzie Palmer put the Jacks up 19-11 and prompted a timeout from the SEMO bench.
The Jackrabbit scoring spurts continued into the second set, including a 6-0 run that started with the Jacks down 5-3, and ended with them up 9-5, thanks four Redhawk hitting errors and kills from Sydney Howard and Margit Hansing. SDSU never trailed again, and used a 5-0 run to go up 21-12 and seal the second set win.
Four early unassisted kills on over passes gave the Jacks an 8-4 lead in the third set, a lead that eventually grew to 14-8 before the Redhawks started fighting back. Up 20-15, SEMO rattled off a 6-1 run to tie the match at 21 and then again at 22 before the Jacks closed the match with three straight points.
Kelli Fiegen led the Jackrabbit offense with 10 kills, adding four block assists and a pair of solo blocks. Hansing finished with nine kills and Kelly Herrmann eight kills in the win. Herrmann also pitched in with 10 digs. Shay Birath led the defense with 17 digs, while Palmer chipped in with four digs to go with two service aces in her collegiate debut.
Lexi Fowler and Howard split the setting duties. Fowler finished with a team-high 16, while Howard debuted with 10 assists, four block assists and a solo block.
Emily Coon led the Redhawks with 12 kills, while Berkley Idel led the team with 16 digs.
The Jackrabbits return to action on Friday at 7 p.m. to face the host Iowa Hawkeyes in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.