Jacks survive in five
Needing a win to stay in the hunt for a spot in next weekend's Summit League Tournament, South Dakota State erased a 2-0 deficit to win three straight sets and defeat Oral Roberts 3-2 on Thursday night at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits tied a school record in the win by playing in their 11th five set match of the season, a record set in 1990, when the Jacks went 8-3 in five set matches. Thursday's five-setter gives the Jacks a 5-6 record in the maxed out matches.
SDSU improves to 15-13 overall and 11-6 in The Summit League by the set scores of 24-26, 20-25, 25-20, 25-19 and 16-14. The Golden Eagles fall to 12-13 overall and 10-7 in league play, which puts their postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.
Defending Summit League Women's Athlete of the Month Kelli Fiegen led the Jackrabbits with 19 kills in 37 swings with just two errors for a .459 hitting percentage. Fiegen added a match high seven block assists and the match's only solo block.
Olivia Ophus led the Golden Eagles with 15 kills and added 13 digs, Serena Cate added 13 kills in the loss for ORU.
SDSU trailed by as many as five points in the opening set, but rallied to tie the match late, only to see ORU capitalize on its second opportunity at set point to win the set 26-24.
The Golden Eagles looked dominant in the beginning of the second set, jumping out to a comfortable nine point lead at 14-5, but the Jackrabbits bounced back with an 11-3 run to get back within one point 17-16. Oral Roberts then used a 4-0 run pad its lead and win the set 25-20 and head into the break with a 2-0 lead.
Both team played close throughout the third set, until the Jacks rallied late with a 4-0 run to go up 20-17 and never trailed again in the 25-20 win.
After a close start to the fourth set, the Jackrabbit closed the set with a 9-3 run to force the fifth and deciding set.
The final set of the night featured five ties, but the Jacks never let the Golden Eagles lead. Tied at 7-all, the Jacks scored four in a row to go up 11-7, but ORU countered with a 6-2 run to tie the match at 13-all. SDSU took a 14-13 lead on an ORU ball handling error, but could not make good on its first chance at set point.
Fiegen recorded her final kill of the night to put the Jacks up 15-14, and Klingemann finished the night off with a kill to end the set and the match with a 16-14 fifth set win.
The win does not officially secure the Jacks a place in next weekend's tournament in Fargo, N.D., but they do end the night in a three-way tie for third place in The Summit League Standings with Oakland and Southern Utah, who beat Oakland on Thursday.
The Jackrabbits can secure their place in the tournament with a win over Summit League cellar dweller Centenary on Saturday in Frost Arena at 7 p.m.