It was a defensive kind of match Wednesday evening as both South Dakota State and North Dakota combine for 181 digs in a four-set match that the Fighting Hawks won 24-26, 25-23, 25-15 and 25-18 in front of 481 fans in the friendly confines of Frost Arena.
Junior Ellie Benson had her hands on a lot of UND's attacks, tying the school record for digs in a four-set match with 32. She shares the record with Shay Birath, who had 32 against Omaha in 2012. Benson, Birath and Samantha Pearson are the only Jackrabbits to record 30-or-more digs in a four-set match in the rally-scoring era and overall in school history.
"I couldn't be happier with our turnaround from the weekend. We fought and competed against a good UND team," second-year head coach Nicole Cirillo said. "Ellie was fantastic tonight. She read the game at such a high level. She deserves to be in the record books after that performance."
In addition to Benson, seniors Nazya Thies and Megan Farnham posted career highs in digs. Thies had 14 kills and 22 digs while Farnham collected 11 digs.
Offensively for the Jackrabbits (1-11), freshman Makenzie Hennen recorded a career- and match-high 16 kills and hit .268 for the match. Sophomore Sierra Peterson had a personal-best 10 kills and hit .438.
Chelsea Moser led North Dakota (7-5) with 12 kills. Tamara Merseli added 10 kills and 11 digs while Tamika Brekke and Teo Tepavac registered 18 and 17 digs, respectively.
The Jackrabbits had a come-from-behind win in set one. The Fighting Hawks opened with an 8-1 run before SDSU pulled within three, 13-10, on senior Ashley Beaner's kill. The Jacks then used a 9-5 run to tie the set at 19-19. After five more ties and a UND error, South Dakota State had set point when Hennen recorded her second kill of the set for the win.
In the second set, SDSU took a 12-7 early lead behind four kills from Hennen and three from Beaner. UND came back with a 6-1 run to tie the set at 13-13. Three more ties and a kill by Beaner took the set to 23-23. The Fighting Hawks got a kill and a Jackrabbit attack error tied the match at 1-1.
Good serving by North Dakota took SDSU out of its offense in the third set. UND built a 10-3 lead. They had a 21-12 lead after the Jacks had four consecutive attacking errors. The Fighting Hawks closed the set with three-straight kills.
SDSU trailed early in the final set before a Beaner kill put the Jackrabbits within two at 12-10. A 7-1 run by UND gave it a 20-11 lead. Hennen and Peterson then combined for seven kills for put the Jacks within four at 22-18. North Dakota scored the final points on a kill and two SDSU attack errors for the win.
South Dakota State's 100 digs ranks as the third-most digs in school history. The 2016 Jacks are tied with the 2001 and 2011 teams. The school record is 111 set Sept. 22, 2001 vs. Northern Colorado.
For the second consecutive match, the Jackrabbits have had an attendance 400-plus fans. SDSU averages 449 fans.
South Dakota State opens its 10th season in The Summit League when it hosts IUPUI Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. in Frost Arena.