SDSU drops five-set heartbreaker to Western Illinois

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (SDSU) – The South Dakota State volleyball team fell to Western Illinois, 3-2 (25-19, 26-24, 22-25, 11-25, 13-15), at the Sanford Pentagon on Sunday in its annual Pink Match.

The Jackrabbits fell to 4-10 overall and 1-1 in Summit League action, while Western Illinois improved to 4-11, 1-1.

“We came out strong. We did exactly what we had talked about and planned on doing, but at some point Western (Illinois) started playing better and we just didn’t match that,” said head coach Nicole Cirillo. “It came down to who wanted it more and I think we kind of rode that roller coaster and just came out on the bottom this time.”

SDSU was led by Makenzie Hennen who recorded her fourth-straight double-double with 21 kills and 15 digs. Ashlynn Smith posted 14 kills and two service aces. Adding nine kills and two blocks was Tori Thompson. Carly Wedel dished out 49 set assists, while recording two service aces and two blocks. Tatum Pickar paced the back row with 19 digs, while Burk added 15 digs.

The Leathernecks led 8-6 before kills from Crystal Burk and Makenzie Hennen evened the score at 8-all. The set remained close until an 8-3 run put the Jacks ahead 18-13. SDSU held the lead the rest of the way, taking the opening set 25-19.

In the second set, a block by Burk halted a WIU 6-0 run and pulled the Jacks even at 11-11. Later in the set, a Hennen kill extended the State advantage to 23-20. WIU regained the lead 24-23 but SDSU captured the last three points with the help of a service ace from Carly Wedel to win set two 26-24.

The Jackrabbits carried the momentum of the first two sets into the third, going back and forth point-for-point with Western Illinois. Makenzie Hennen picked up six of her 21 kills on the day in the third frame, followed by Ashlynn Smith who picked up four of her 14. Down by three, Cirillo called timeout with a score of 21-19 before the Leathernecks went on a 4-3 run win their first set, 25-22.

The Leathernecks jumped out to an early lead in the fourth set and the Jacks quickly found themselves down by 15 headed into set point. A pair of Jackrabbit service errors sealed the deal on the fourth set for Western Illinois, 25-11.

After falling behind early in set five, a trio of Leatherneck errors brought the Jacks back even at 9-9. SDSU kept up, but couldn’t overtake WIU and dropped the final set 15-13.

Game Notes
Makenzie Hennen recorded her fourth straight double-double, eight on the season.
The Jackrabbits are now 17-10 all-time against Western Illinois.
South Dakota State is raising money for the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation in support of breast cancer awareness.

Up Next
The Jacks hit the road to take on Denver (Oct. 4) and Oral Roberts (Oct. 6) in its first pair of road Summit League matches.

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