Crystal Burk came a long way to help raise SDSU volleyball

Karl’s TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week
Senior has helped SDSU volleyball rise from the bottom of the Summit League
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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BROOKINGS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It was random chance that put Georgia native Crystal Burk on South Dakota State volleyball’s radar.

“At the time I was in Florida and the other girl she (ex-SDSU coach Nicole Cirillo) came to recruit was off and I was playing and she just happened to walk by my court and saw me and sent me an email the next day. So that’s kind of how I got here. I kind of turned it down. I was like ‘South Dakota State? Never heard of it!’ Burk says.

It was her mom Frances McClure who helped close the deal.

“She told me not to just turn anything down. She always told me to give things chances and not look the other way. She’s been my rock this whole time and she’s always had my back.” Burk says.

Crystal almost immediately made the Jackrabbits starting lineup upon arriving in Brookings in 2018 and became one of their top players.

Despite that, SDSU was not near the top of the Summit League and the coach who recruited her, Nicole Cirillo, resigned a year later.

“To really make a change and really maket that turn int he program was a big goal of mine.” Crystal says.

New coach Dan Georgalas immediately saw a player who could be the foundation for what he wanted to build.

“She’s a five skill player. She can play six rotations. I think she’s really connected with the community and it’s fun to kind of have a player that people recognize. I don’t know if this program has had that the last couple years.” Georgalas says.

And Burk elevated her game, earning first team All-Conference honors last season to help lead State to 19 wins after the program had won just 18 in her first three years.

“She’s our enforcer in the locker room. She’s a great leader. She can call people out because she does a lot of things the right way.” Georgalas says.

Burk will leave a mark on the Jackrabbit record books, ascending to the top five in school history with 1400 kills and counting.

And it’s safe to say the school that made quite an impression on her mom, has done the same for Crystal and vice versa.

“I feel like we’re going to leave a huge mark here and this team will be remembered.” Crystal says.