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Jacks play co-favorites in regular season finale

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 11/13/2013 14:39:15
The 2013 regular season comes to a close this weekend for the South Dakota State volleyball team with road matches at preseason co-favorites Fort Wayne on Friday and at IUPUI on Saturday.

The Jackrabbits and Mastodons get started on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, while the Jacks and Jags start on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

SDSU enters the final weekend of the regular season looking to extend its first winning streak of the season to three games, after downing Omaha on Friday and Western Illinois on Saturday, when the Jacks sent senior Lexi Fowler out with a 3-2 win.

The wins kept the Jacks Summit League Tournament hopes alive for at least one more week, but the Jacks need to win and get some help to qualify for the six team event next weekend. SDSU needs a sweep, and needs the Fighting Leathernecks to drops both games at home to qualify.

The Last Time Out; vs. Western Illinois; Nov. 9 – Three players registered double figures in kills as the South Dakota State volleyball defeated Western Illinois, 3-2, in Summit League play at Frost Arena Saturday.  The Jacks won the match 25-22, 22-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-12.

Middle blocker Courtney Roberts registered a career-high and match-high 20 kills and collected five block assists. Kacey Hermann posted a double-double with 10 kills and 15 digs, while Wagner Larson had 10 kills and four block assists.  Lexi Fowler recorded a double-double with 45 assists and 12 digs.  Defensively, the Jacks were led by Alanna Pengilly’s 23 digs and Lizzie Palmer’s 11.

Western Illinois also had four players with 10-or-more kills. Ann Miller had 16, Heather Smith 13, Jordan Jackson with 12 and Mallory Gibson 10. Molly Murphy had a match-high 27 digs.

Roberts came on strong in the fourth and fifth set, hitting a combined .562 (9-0-16).  The Jacks as a squad hit well in the final to sets, hitting .359 in the fourth and .438 in the fifth.

THE JACKRABBIT EXTRA ON GoJacks.com – Subscribers to the Jackrabbit Extra on GoJacks.com can watch all SDSU home matches and select road matches streaming live on the internet.  

To subscribe to the Jackrabbit Extra, log onto GoJacks.com and click on “Live Events” at the top of the page and then click on "SIGN UP NOW"

THE JACKRABBIT INSIDER ON KELOLAND-TV – 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 MyUTV at 10:30 p.m., followed by broadcasts on Sunday at 11 p.m. on KELOLAND-TV and on Fox Sports North on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.

FOWLER CLIMBS CAREER SET ASSISTS CHARTS – Senior setter Lexi Fowler started her senior season ranked ninth all-time at SDSU with 1,897 career set assists, moved up one spot to eighth earlier in the season, and then passed Melia Iwamoto (2,546 set assists from 2007-08) for seventh on the all-time list in Saturday’s win over Western Illinois. She enters the final weekend of the regular season with 2,564 in her career. 

FOWLER RECORDS A TRIPLE-DOUBLE – Senior setter Lexi Fowler posted her first-career triple-double in a 3-2 win at Drake on Sept. 7, with 12 kills, 48 set assists and 14 digs. Fowler becomes the first Jackrabbit to score a triple-double since Amy Anderson accomplished the feat in a 3-0 win over Western Illinois at The Summit League Championships on Nov. 16, 2007, when she finished with 11 kills, 10 digs and 10 total blocks. 

THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS

Fort Wayne Mastodons (15-13, 7-5 Summit) – Picked as a co-favorite to win the league in the preseason poll, the Mastodons can’t win the league but did qualify to defend their Summit League Tournament title next weekend in Indianapolis, with the only question being what seed they take into the event.

The Mastodons enter the final weekend of the regular season fresh off a 3-0 win over fellow preseason co-favorite IUPUI at home on Saturday.  

The Series vs. Fort Wayne – The Mastodons lead the all-time series 15-4, including a streak of 10 straight wins from 2008 through the first meeting of 2012. The Jacks bookended the losing streak with a win in the 2007 Summit League Tournament championship match and a win last year on senior night at Frost Arena. IPFW won the first meeting of the season on Oct. 19, at Frost Arena.

The Last Meeting: Oct. 19, 2013; Frost Arena – The South Dakota State volleyball team closed the weekend with a 3-0 loss to Summit League preseason co-favorite and defending league champion Fort Wayne, falling to the visiting Mastodons by the set scores of 25-19, 25-15 and 25-19.

Defending Summit League Player of the Year Emily Spencer led all players in the match with 20 kills, adding nine digs, a solo block and a block assist for the Mastodons in the win. Kendall Wienkes added 16 kills for the ‘Dons.

Tiara Gibson and Wagner Larson both finished with six kills to lead the Jackrabbits. Gibson also added four block assists and Larson two block assists in the loss.

Lexi Fowler finished with 19 set assists and came up two digs shy of a double-double with eight digs.

IUPUI Jaguars (15-13, 9-3 Summit) – The defending regular season champion Jaguars can earn a share of their second straight regular season title with a pair of wins this weekend against the Jackrabbits and North Dakota State, as they enter the final weekend of the regular season with the same 9-3 record as South Dakota, which plays its final two matches at Omaha and at Western Illinois this weekend.

The Jags dropped their only match last weekend, falling 3-0 at fellow preseason co-favorite IPFW on Saturday.

The Series vs. IUPUI – The Jaguars lead the series 7-6 after they swept the season series in 2012 and the first meeting of 2013, making it four wins in a row for IUPUI.  The Jackrabbits won the first three meetings in the evenly matched series that dates back to the 2007 season. 

The Last Meeting: Oct. 18, 2013; Frost Arena – The South Dakota State volleyball team hosted preseason Summit League co-favorite and defending regular season champion IUPUI  in the annual pink match to raise money for cancer research, but lost the contest in three sets, falling by the set scores of 25-10, 25-14 and 25-15.

Tiara Gibson led the Jackrabbits with six kills in the match and hit .462, with no errors in 13 swings. Wagner Larson also finished with six kills and a pair of block assists.

IUPUI’s Moriah Fair and Kaitlyn Hickey led all players in the match with 10 kills, with Beth Howard pacing all defensive players with 14 digs. Hickey added four solo blocks in the win, as the Jaguars won the blocking battle 12-3.

NEXT UP FOR THE JACKRABBITS – The Jackrabbits need a sweep this weekend on the road, and also need Western Illinois to drop a pair of home matches against Denver and South Dakota in order to qualify for next weekend’s Summit League Championships in Indianapolis, Ind.   

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