South Dakota State and Western Illinois played close all night on Saturday at Frost Arena, but the Jackrabbits stepped up when they needed the points to secure a 3-1 win over the Fighting Leathernecks in Summit League volleyball action.
SDSU improves to 10-4 overall and to 3-1 in The Summit League by the set scores of 25-16, 21-25, 25-23 and 25-20. Western Illinois falls to 7-8 overall and to 2-3 in league play.
"I thought we were much more solid on defense tonight, and I really liked our focus at the beginning of the match," head coach Phil McDaniel said. "We paid close attention to our blocking assignments and were very good in transition tonight."
The Jackrabbits finished with a 14-9 edge in team blocks, led by Kelli Fiegen, who posted a match-high nine blocks, eight block assists and one solo block. She also knocked down 11 kills for the Jacks in the win.
Kaitlin Klingemann led way with 14 kills, adding a pair of service aces and four block assists. Kelly Herrmann pitched in with nine kills to go along with her 11 digs and three blocks, two assist and one solo.
Ann Miller led the visitors with 16 kills. Kaitie Hosteng added 12 kills in the loss.
Western scored first and took an early lead, but the Jacks quickly responded with a 5-0 run that ended with a 7-3 lead that they would not relinquish in winning the opening set 25-16.
Both the second and third sets featured 11 ties and at least three lead changes to determine a winner. WIU trailed by as many as five points at 15-10 in the second set, but ended the set on a 15-6 run to win 25-21 and tie the match at 1-1.
The third set looked much the same as the second, with ties at 6-6 through 16-16 before the Jackrabbits pulled away to go up 23-18. The Jacks finally capitalized on their third attempt at set point before they won the set 25-23.
The Leathernecks led for much of the fourth set, which saw nine tie scores before the Jacks got over the hump at 14-14, part of a 5-1 run the put the set out of reach.
The win concludes a three match home stand for the Jackrabbits, who return to the road for three matches next week, starting with a non-conference affair with Valparaiso on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Crusaders downed the Jacks 3-2 on Aug. 25, at the Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City.