Jackrabbits host league foes IUPUI and WIU
Summit League play continues for South Dakota State this weekend with matches against IUPUI on Friday, and against Western Illinois on Saturday, both at 7 p.m. at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits opened league play last Friday at league newcomer Omaha. Picked to finish last in the preseason poll, the Mavericks fell in their first-ever Summit League match by the score of 3-0 to the visiting Jackrabbits, who then played preseason favorite North Dakota State on Sunday at Frost Arena. The Jacks won that match 3-1 to open league play with a perfect 2-0 mark.
Bailey Philippot led a balanced Jackrabbit attack at Omaha with 10 kills and five total blocks. Kelli Fiegen and Kelly Herrmann both added seven kills in the win, with Fiegen adding seven blocks, and Herrmann adding 10 digs. Shay Birath led the defense in the win over the Mavericks with 20 digs.
The Jackrabbit balance continued in the win over the Bison on Sunday. Kaitlin Klingemann led the way with 14 kills and a trio of service aces. Kelli Fiegen rebounded from a slow start in the match to finish with 12 kills and five block assists. Four other Jackrabbits posted at least five kills in the match, including Sydney Howard, who went a perfect 6-for-6 on the attack. Birath again led the defense with 27 digs on her way to earning the league's defensive player of the week award.
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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.
BIRATH NAMED DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK - Shay Birath earned her fifth career defensive player of the week award and first of the season after helping the Jackrabbits go undefeated last weekend, with back-to-back 20-plus dig matches to open league play.
The senior from Marshall, Minn., collected 20 digs in the sweep of Omaha, then posted 27 digs in a four-set victory over preseason favorite and 2011 league champion, North Dakota State. On the week, Birath recorded 47 digs, averaging 6.71 per set and eight assists.
FIEGEN CRACKS TOP-10 IN CAREER KILLS - 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 cracked the all-time top-10 in the Jacks win over North Dakota State on Sept. 16, and enters the weekend with 1,211 career kills, 20 shy of passing Roxie Rath (1,230 kills form 1995-98) for ninth on the all-time list, and 25 shy of passing Kim Bostrom (1,234 kills from 2001-04) for eighth.
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. She enters this weekend with 884 kills, 116 shy of reaching the milestone.
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. Her team-high 235 digs this season gives her 1,588 for her career, 27 shy of moving into second all-time and 341 away from a new school 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 entered her senior season 254 digs shy of becoming the 14th member of the SDSU 1,000-Digs Club. She enters the weekend with 883 digs, 117 shy of the mark.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS
IUPUI Jaguars (8-6, 2-1 Summit) - The Jaguars posted an even 6-5 record before Summit League play began last weekend, with three wins a the Thunder Invitational, hosted by Marshall, two wins at their own tournament and a win at the Western Kentucky Invitational.
Picked to finish fifth in The Summit League preseason poll, the Jags opened league play with a pair of home wins last weekend, downing UMKC on Friday and South Dakota on Saturday, both by a 3-1 score. They traveled to Fort Wayne, Ind., on Tuesday for a mid-week league match with IPFW, but fell 3-1 to the host Mastodons.
The Series vs. IUPUI - The Jackrabbits lead the all-time series 6-4. SDSU swept the season series in 2007, but the Jacks and Jags split the season series in each of the last four seasons, with each team winning on its home floor in each of the last nine meetings.
Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks (6-7, 1-2 Summit) - The Fighting Leathernecks opened the April Hall era with three straight losses at the SIU-Edwardsville Invitational, but bounced right back with three straight wins at the Indiana State Invitational. From there, the Leathernecks dropped two of three at the Butler Invitational, winning their last match against Stephen F. Austin.
Western closed the pre-conference schedule with a 3-0 home sweep of Chicago State to enter league play with an even 5-5 record.
Picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll, the Leathernecks dropped their first two matches in league play, falling 3-1 to South Dakota on Friday and 3-2 to UMKC on Saturday, both at home, but bounced back to beat Oakland on the road in five sets on Monday.
The Series vs. Western Illinois - The Jackrabbits lead the all-time series 9-2. The two Western wins came on Nov. 1, 2008, a 3-0 sweep in Macomb, Ill., and in the last meeting on Oct. 14, 2011, also a 3-0 sweep in Macomb, Ill.
NEXT UP FOR THE JACKRABBITS - SDSU hits the road for three matches next week, starting with a non-conference affair with Valparaiso, a rematch of a match won by the Crusaders, 3-2, at the Hawkeye Challenge on Aug. 25.
The Jacks then return to league play at IPFW on Friday and at Oakland on Saturday, both of those matches begin at 7 p.m. ET.