Jackrabbit fans didn't pack Frost Arena for a Monday night match with No. 12 Northern Iowa, but the 337 fans that did got to see South Dakota State give the powerful Panthers a good run despite losing 3-0, by the set scores of 25-22, 25-20 and 25-18.
"I like the way we competed tonight, and I think our energy and focus was solid," head coach Phil McDaniel said. "There were three or four points in each set where we lost control of the tempo for periods of time, but we fought back well and made them work for every point. I'm proud of the way everybody performed tonight."
The loss drops the Jackrabbits to 13-18 heading into the final weekend of the season. The Panthers improve to 26-1, and run their winning streak to 17 straight in the process.
Kelli Fiegen led the Jackrabbits with 10 kills and added a pair of block assists. Kelly Herrmann added nine kills, with a solo block and two block assists. Kaitlin Klingemann finished with eight kills and a match-high four block assists.
Shay Birath finished with a match-high 19 digs, which moves her into eighth place on the all-time SDSU digs list with 1,314, two three shy of passing Rose Ebnet for seventh all-time.
Krista DeGeest led the Panthers with 13 kills, hitting at a .571 clip (13-1-21). Bre Payton added 11 kills, 32 set assists and came up just shy of a triple-double with eight digs.
The Jackrabbits close the 2011 season this weekend at home, with matches against UMKC on Friday at 5 p.m., followed by a match with South Dakota on Saturday at 7 p.m.