TOLEDO, OHIO (SDSU) – South Dakota State (6-2) went 2-0 on the final day of the Blue and Gold Tournament. The Jacks downed Youngstown State in a five-set thriller, 3-2, to open the day before sweeping Valparaiso to close out the weekend.
In the first match of the day, four Jacks finished with double figure kills, including double-doubles from Crystal Burk and Chloe Stitt. Setter Carly Wedel posted a career-high 63 assists in the five-set affair.
Burk once again paced the Jacks with 18 kills on .368 hitting in the final match of the day against Valparaiso while Wedel added a double-double with 34 assists and 12 digs.
SDSU 3, YSU 2 (23-25, 25-20, 25-21, 22-25, 15-12)
SDSU stepped out to a 3-1 lead aided by an ace from Jadyn Makovika but a 5-0 Youngstown State run prompted the Jacks’ first timeout at 6-3. A kill from Chloe Stitt eventually pulled the Jacks back even at 8-8 and the two sides exchanged points to a 15-15 tie. The set remained close but another mini run by Youngstown State placed the Jacks in a late 22-20 hole. Crystal Burk led the way with five kills on .308 hitting, but SDSU dropped set one, 25-23.
Youngstown State again forced an early South Dakota State timeout after starting the second set on a 4-0 run. The Penguins extended their lead to 6-0 before a kill from Annalee Ventiling-Brown got the Jacks on the board. Back-to-back kills from Chloe Stitt gave the Jacks their first lead of the set at 9-8 before leading by four at 13-9. Youngstown State battled back to a 17-17 tie, but an ace from Burk gave the Jacks a late 24-19 lead. SDSU tied the match at one set piece with a 25-20 set two victory.
The two sides were evenly matched early in the third set forcing ties at 4-4, 6-6 and 8-8 before a 3-0 run gave Youngstown State a 13-9 lead. A well-timed Jackrabbit run gave SDSU a two-point lead and forced a Penguins timeout at 16-14. Stitt’s 10th kill of the match broke a 19-19 tie and sparked a 5-0 run that led to a 25-21 set three victory.
Ties were common once again in the fourth set, but it was Youngstown State that stepped in front by three at 13-10. The Penguins led by three at the media timeout before extending their lead to four at 17-13. The Jacks pulled within two several times and within one at 21-20 but couldn’t get over the hump as Youngstown State forced a fifth and deciding set, 25-22.
SDSU was the first squad to five points, forcing a Penguins timeout at 5-2. Youngstown State responded out of the timeout to take the lead with a 4-0 run, however. A kill from Hailee Blau brought the Jackrabbits level at 8-8 and another kill from Blau gave SDSU the lead at 12-11. The two sided were even at 12-12, but the Jacks closed on a 3-0 to win the match.
SDSU 3, Valparaiso 0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-23)
South Dakota State was the aggressor early as Ventling-Brown gave the Jacks a three-point lead at 6-3. A service ace from Ella Thompson extended SDSU’s lead to 9-3. The Jacks led by as many as 10 after a kill from Burk made the score 23-13. SDSU didn’t take its foot off the gas as the Jacks secured a 25-14 victory in set one.
The Jacks started fast again in set two, jumping out to a 7-3 advantage after a block from Thompson and Wedel. Another block for SDSU, this one a solo block from Ventling-Brown, made the score 16-8 in favor of the Jackrabbits. Valparaiso wouldn’t go away, however, as the climbed back to within four at 22-18. SDSU stymied the threat en route to a 25-18 victory in set two.
It was Valparaiso that started fast in the third set, jumping out to an 8-5 lead. The Jacks came storming back with a 5-0 run, highlighted by a Stitt ace, to take the lead at 12-10. An ace from Jadyn Makovicka gave SDSU a late three-point lead at 17-14 to prompt a Valparaiso timeout. Valparaiso pulled back within one at 20-19 and led by one at 23-22, but SDSU closed on a 3-0 run to clinch the sweep, 25-23.