VERMILLION, S.D. (SDSU) — South Dakota State’s volleyball team qualified for its first Summit League Tournament since 2010 after going 10-8 in conference play.
After ending that drought already, the Jackrabbits looked to snap another, as they hadn’t won a match at the tournament since winning the Championship match in 2007.
SDSU opened the Summit League Tournament against Denver Thursday night in Vermillion.
The Pioneers would take a 1-0 lead in the match after winning the opening set 25-19. SDSU used an early 7-1 run to take the lead in the second, but would see that lead disappear following a 8-2 Pioneer run. SDSU would build a four-point lead twice in the set, first going up 22-18, and then 24-20. After Denver fought off three consecutive set points, SDSU would finally end the second as Crystal Burk finished off the set with 1 of her 11 kills to even the match at 1.
The third set was tight from the start with no team leading by more than 3 points until the final stretch when the Pioneers closed the set on a 3-0 run to win the third 25-21 and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
With their backs against the wall, South Dakota State took early command of the fourth set, building an early 6-2 lead. Denver would answer with a 9-3 run to grab a two-point lead only to see SDSU respond with three-straight points to regain the lead. Denver would eventually tie the set at 23, but then the Jackrabbits would win the next two points to win the set 25-23, and tie the match at 2.
South Dakota State carried that momentum into the decisive fifth set jumping out to an 8-1 lead. Denver would cut the deficit to four several times, but Crystal Burk finishes off the match with a kill to send the Jackrabbits to the semifinals with a 3-2 victory over Denver.
Chloe Stitt led the Jackrabbits with 12 kills, while Crystal Burk added 11. Ella Thompson added 9 kills, Sydney Andrews tallied 8, while two others each collected 7 kills in the win.
SDSU will play #2 seed South Dakota Friday night at 7:00 p.m. in the semifinals.