Denver ends SDSU’s season in five set Summit Quarterfinal thriller

Jackrabbits finish 17-14 after 3-2 defeat
SDSU falls to Denver 3-2
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 10:57 PM CST
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OMAHA, NE (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota State volleyball wrapped up the 2022 season with a tightly contested five-set loss to No. 4 Denver Thursday evening in the quarterfinal round of the Summit League postseason tournament.

Only five total points separated the teams at the end of the night as set scores went 32-30, 22-25, 26-24, 22-25, 12-15.

The contest, a rematch of last season’s tournament semifinal, featured 54 tie scores and 20 lead changes across the five sets. Two sets needed extra points to determine a winner and none of the games were won by more than three points.

Crystal Burk notched 25 kills in her final match as a Jackrabbit, two shy of her career best. The fifth-year senior’s 95 attacks is not only a career high, but is also the top single-match mark in the nation this year.

Setter Raegen Reilly also had a night for the record books. With 51 assists against the Pioneers, Reilly surpassed the 2,000 career assists milestone and became SDSU’s single-season assists leader for the 25-point rally scoring era. She finishes her sophomore campaign with 1,228 helpers.

Masa Scheierman and Ella Thompson joined Burk in double figures, tallying 11 kills apiece. Thompson attacked at a .429 clip, leading all players. Elyse Winter and Sydney Andrews chipped in six and five kills, respectively.

On the defensive end, Jadyn Makovicka paced the Jacks with 28 digs, her most in a Jackrabbit uniform and three short of her overall career best. Alia Schlimgen added 16 digs, matching her career high, followed by 12 digs from Katie Van Egdom, 11 from Burk and 10 from Reilly. Makovicka and Faith Saewert recorded one ace each.

Four Jackrabbits had four total blocks on the night - Scheierman (three solo, one assist), Thompson (one solo, three assists), Winter (four assists) and Andrews (four assists).

Denver got 32 kills from Hailey Green and 22 more from Memphis Glasgow. Emma Ziegler gave out 68 assists and Gianna Bartalo had 40 digs.

The Pioneers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set, but SDSU bounced back with five straight points to lead 5-4. Following a three-point SDSU run to lead 10-8, neither side scored more than two consecutive points for the rest of the set. The marathon set finally ended at 32-30 with a service ace off the hand of Makovicka.

Set two was also tightly contested until the Pioneers used an 8-0 run to go up 23-17. SDSU pulled back to within two at 24-22 before Hailey Green finished it off with a kill for Denver.

Despite trailing 17-10 in the third set, SDSU rallied to retake the match lead with a 26-24 win. Down by seven, Andrews tallied back-to-back kills to make it a five-point game, then the Jacks pulled within two at 18-16 with the help of kills from Winter and Scheierman. Scheierman, Burk and Thompson put down consecutive kills to tie the set at 21, then kills from Burk and Scheierman yet again gave the Jacks the win.

Neither side could manage to pull away in the fourth set. A 7-2 stretch for the Jacks gave them a 16-12 lead, then Denver came back to knot the set at 17 with a run of their own. With the set tied at 19, Denver’s final six points came by way of a kill to force the tiebreak game.

Denver took a 7-4 lead in the final set and fended off the Jacks the rest of the way. Thompson tacked on a kill to her total pulling SDSU within one at 10-9 before the Pioneers made a push to finish the match off 15-12.

SDSU ends the season 17-14 overall. Denver (19-11) advances to take on No. 1 South Dakota in the semifinal round Friday afternoon.