Volleyball kicks off three-game homestand against SDSU Jackrabbits

Zach Remelius, Courier Staff

The Western Illinois University volleyball team will face off against South Dakota State on Sunday inside Western Hall at 1 p.m. The Leathernecks come into the game with a record of 5-17 overall and 2-7 within The Summit League. The visiting Jackrabbits are 5-15 overall and sit at 2-6 in conference play. Both teams face a must-win game for an opportunity to get to The Summit League tournament. The Leathernecks lost their outing to Purdue Fort Wayne in five sets and South Dakota State was swept in three sets by Omaha last time out.

The Jackrabbits are led by senior Mackenzie Hennen, sophomore Tatum Pickar and freshman Carly Wedel. Hennen has 247 kills on the season, Pickar has contributed with 294 digs and Wedel has amassed 369 assists. South Dakota State is led by head coach Nicole Cirello who is in her fifth season in Brookings. In the last two seasons, the Leathernecks have been able to knock off the Jackrabbits.

The Leathernecks have been a strong blocking team this season only having been out-blocked five times in 22 games. The team has totaled 155 blocks on the season led by Mackenzie Steckler who is first in The Summit League with 99 in total. The four freshmen who joined the Leatherneck program this season have had solid starts to their Leatherneck career as well. Jessie Connell has 380 assists, Gabby DePersio has 244 digs while Aubrey Putnam is second on the team with 162. Lastly, Elle Shult has 82 kills and 41 blocks to round out a solid freshman class.

This game is the beginning of a three-game homestand for the Leathernecks. They’ll take on SDSU this Sunday and then worry about North Dakota and North Dakota State next weekend. Each game is a crucial one now as the Leathernecks fight for a spot in The Summit League Tournament. They hope to get things started on the right foot this Sunday afternoon against the Jackrabbits.