Game Notes @ MSU-Moorhead Tournament, Aug. 29-30.
Monday, August 25, 2003
Bemidji State Opens 2003 Season With Collection of Four Matches
Opening its 35th year, Bemidji State travels to Moorhead, Minn., to battle four opponents at the Minnesota State University-Moorhead Tournament, Aug. 29-30. Friday, BSU takes on Concordia-Moorhead at 12:00 p.m., followed by St. Cloud State at 4:00 p.m. Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) starts off the Saturday round of matches at 10:00 a.m. with Valley City State (N.D.) ending BSU’s tournament at 4:00 p.m.

The past five seasons have seen the Beavers partake in tournament action with each one being at a different site. Last year, BSU lost all four matches at the Minnesota State University-Mankato Tournament.

One area BSU has struggled with in recent seasons is getting out to a fast start. Last year, the Beavers opened 2-6, dropping their first four contests. They had an identical record in 2001 after eight matches and 2000 saw them lose seven straight and open 1-10.

>The Records:

All five teams come into the tournament with a 0-0 mark.

>The Coaches:

BSU Coach Kim Falkenhagen: Falkenhagen is 0-0 at Bemidji State, having spent the last three seasons at West Texas A&M. She holds a 0-0 career record.
Concordia-Moorhead Coach Tim Mosser: Entering his 11th season at Concordia, Mosser is 173-151 (.534) overall.
St. Cloud State Coach Patricia Mickow: In 14 years overall, Mickow is 239-260 (.479) and entering her first season at SCSU.
Dakota Wesleyan Coach Kylee Johnson: Johnson is entering her first season.
Valley City State Coach Diane Burr: Maintaining a 326-250 (.566) record in 20 years at Valley City State is Burr.
> Series History:
Bemidji State vs. Concordia-Moorhead - BSU leads 30-7-1 and 9-4-1 in neutral court. The last two meetings have gone in favor of the Cobbers including the last meeting Nov. 2, 1996 (3-0). The last BSU win was Oct. 15, 1993, 3-1.
Bemidji State vs. St. Cloud State - SCSU leads 32-13 and 11-8 in neutral setting. The two programs have split the last six meetings with the Beavers winning 3-0 at home, Sept. 6, 2002 in the most recent match. The last BSU win in neutral court was Sept. 12, 1997, 3-1, a span of six matches.
Bemidji State vs. Dakota Wesleyan - It will be the first meeting in the series.
Bemidji State vs. Valley City State - BSU leads 17-1 overall and 8-1 in neutral territory. Bemidji State won the first 16 affairs with the only loss coming Oct. 30, 1992 (3-0). The last meeting was a BSU sweep, Sept. 5, 1998 at home.

How Bemidji State Is Going To Be In 2003

Bringing back two all-conference performers, the most since the 1999 season, and losing only two starters from a season ago, head coach Kim Falkenhagen is confident in her team’s chances to improve on a 11-17 record.

“We have the potential to be in the top of our conference - if not this year then the next year,” said Falkenhagen. “The girls are very athletic and adapt well to their surroundings. This is the third coach the seniors have had and they have been versatile to what other coaches have brought in.”

The Beavers look to run a “swing offense,” which is more of an active, moving set. In this system, both middle blockers Heather Haugen and Nicole McDougall will take center stage.

Haugen, a junior from Lanesboro, Minn., led the 2002 team in total blocks (52) and was second in kills/game (2.73), total kills (257), solo blocks (14) and blocks/game (0.55). A 2002 All-NSIC Honorable Mention selection, Haugen needs just 31 blocks to take over 14th place on the BSU career list.

McDougall maintained an 0.72 blocks per game clip last year, which was tops on the club. The 6-3 senior looks to get back to her 2001 form when she was a league honorable mention performer and led BSU in kills per game (2.80) and blocks per game (0.97).

Two other seniors looking to make a dent in the school record books are outside hitters Kristin Peterson and Lisa Smith. Peterson and Smith are tied for first among BSU active players with 23 double-digit games for kills.

“Smith and Peterson will be controlling and managing the team both mentally and athletically,” said Falkenhagen.

Peterson, who played sparingly in 2002 (57 games), sits 16th for total attempts in a career (1,818). Like McDougall, Peterson will try to get back to her play in 2001 when she was the team leader in service aces (44) and digs (368).

Smith, who needs 200 kills to move into the BSU career top 10 list, was the squad’s 2002 leader in kills (337) and solo blocks (19). In the conference, Smith finished ninth in kills per game (3.47) and 15th in hitting percentage (.253). On six occasions, the 2002 All-NSIC First Team honoree nailed down 20 or more kills last season - BSU was 6-0 in those contests.

Three newcomers, including junior transfer Katie McKenzie, compliment the five returning starters. McKenzie was a two-year starter at Hibbing Community College and led the region in service aces both seasons.

Out of the first-year players, freshman Lindsey Bromenshenkel may be the one to watch as Falkenhagen describes her as a “hard worker who will give her all in any position.”

2002 Season Recap

The Beavers ended the 2002 season 11-17 overall and 8-10 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. They finished sixth in the NSIC after doubling their conference win total (8) from 2001. The 11 overall wins was the most since the 1999 season (25). Here are some highlights:
> A six-match home winning streak that was an extension from the 2001 season. It was the longest since the Beavers won eight consecutive from Oct. 1, 1988 - Oct. 12, 1989.
> A three-match overall winning streak, which was the longest since BSU won four straight from Oct. 28, 2000 - Nov. 10, 2000.
> The Beavers fell on hard times with a season-long five match losing streak but halted that with a 3-2 marathon victory over Southwest State (10/18).
> Three matches later saw BSU close out the tenth-best team in the North Central Region in Northern State (10/26), 3-2.
> The 1,430 kills, 1,247 assists and .163 hitting percentage were the best team marks since the 1999 season.
> In eight of the 11 wins, BSU had fewer blocks than its opponent.

Double-Double Performances

Through 27 matches in 2002, there were a total of 33 double-doubles among seven Beaver players. Kristin Smith was tops with 14 (assists-digs) including a personal-best 74 assist-23 dig performance against Southwest State (10/18). Heather Haugen had nine in kills and digs while Lisa Smith had five. Kelly Piper notched a career-high with 14 kills and 24 digs in the Southwest State match (10/18) as she hit three double-doubles in 2002. Also, Kristin Peterson and Layne Backer had one on the season in kills and digs while Karri Turk notched three.
Here is a look at the active leaders in career double-doubles:
> Kristin Smith - 14
> Kristin Peterson - 13
> Heather Haugen - 9
> Lisa Smith - 5

Bemidji State Head Coach Kim Falkenhagen

Rookie head coach Kim Falkenhagen became the 11th head coach in BSU history after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at West Texas A&M. She helped direct one of the best Division II programs in the nation, taking the Buffaloes to the NCAA round of 16 in each of her three years on staff, including national quarterfinal appearances in 2000 and 2002.

During Falkenhagen’s tenure, West Texas A&M won Lone Star Conference titles from 2000 through 2002 and posted three consecutive 30-win seasons with a three-year aggregate record of 100-8.

During her two years as a graduate assistant at WTAMU in 1998 and 1999, Falkenhagen served as a marketing assistant working with sponsorships, marketing and advertising for the athletics program.

Prior to her stint at West Texas A&M, Falkenhagen was varsity coach at Bay City Central High School in Bay City, Mich. from 1997-’99. There, she helped develop several Division I athletes including Michigan State defensive specialist Emily Engel.

Falkenhagen began her collegiate playing career at Weber State, playing with the Wildcats from 1992-’93 before transferring to Northern Michigan. There, Falkenhagen helped lead the Wildcats to the 1994 NCAA Division II national championship and a national runner-up finish in 1995. She was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team in 1995 after setting a still-standing Tournament single-match record for attack percentage (13-0-15/.867) against West Virginia Wesleyan. That performance is tied for sixth-best in a single match in Division II history.

She earned AVCA All-Great Lakes Region and All-GLIAC honors in 1995, and was named to regional All-Tournament teams in both 1994 and ‘95. She led NMU in total blocks (93) and block assists (82) in 1995.
Falkenhagen earned a bachelor of science degree from Northern Michigan in 1997 and a master of arts in interdisciplinary studies from West Texas A&M in 2002.

The rookie coach is assisted by second-year graduate assistant Selene Teitelbaum (UC-Santa Cruz ‘01) and first-year volunteer assistant Todd Frauenholtz (St. Cloud State ‘95).

And The Coaches Say...

After finishing the 2002 season sixth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, the 2003 Coaches Poll has Bemidji State taking seventh. With 29 votes, BSU sits in front of Winona State (17 votes) and Minnesota-Crookston (16 votes). The Beavers welcome back 2002 All-NSIC First Team selection Lisa Smith and honorable mention honoree Heather Haugen. Also, Nicole McDougall is looking to get back to her 2001 form when she was honorable mention status.

Receiving seven of the nine first place votes is Minnesota-Duluth. UM-Duluth, the first league team with a No. 1 national ranking at the NCAA Division II level last season, lost 2002 NSIC Most Valuable Player Becky Kukowski. However, the Bulldogs return three all-conference first teamers including 2003 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year in Callie Zwettler. Last season, UM-D earned its 20th NSIC title, breezing through the conference with an 18-0 mark.

Concordia-St. Paul had two first-place nods on the polls and was just five marks shy of UM-Duluth as it settles for second in the preseason polls. The Golden Bears see three first-teamers return in addition to 2002 NSIC Newcomer of the Year Cailin Terhaar. C-SP went 13-5 in 2002 and maintained a No. 7 ranking in the North Central Region.

“ Those two (UM-Duluth, Concordia-St. Paul) have been the stronger teams in the league the past couple of seasons,” said Falkenhagen. “We will have to go all out to show that we want to be contenders with them.”

The third through sixth spots look like this: Southwest Minnesota State (45 votes), Wayne State (39), Northern State (36) and MSU-Moorhead (29).

Quickly About the Opponents...

> Concordia-Moorhead: The Cobbers bring a developed team into this campaign after going 21-10 a year ago. They tied for fourth place in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a 7-4 mark. Two-time all-conference first-team pick, junior Jackie Barton (358 kills, 112 blocks) was second in the MIAC in hitting percentage last season. Joining her is sophomore Jessica Walden (school record 1,174 assists), who was named to the All-MIAC second team.
> St. Cloud State: Coached by former BSU general, Patricia Mickow, the Huskies are looking to improve on a 4-21 overall mark from 2002. They return all seven starters including All-North Central Conference pick, senior Kari Turkowski (.268%, 8.02 apg, 2.37 dpg). Five newcomers join six upperclassmen. Headlining the veterans is senior Jane Backes (2.57 kpg, 2.22 dpg) and junior Leah Herrboldt (3.26 kpg, 3.16 dpg).
> Dakota Wesleyan: Leading the way for the Tigers are co-captains April Bach (1.01 bpg, 1.96 kpg) and Danielle Heltzel (1.03 dpg) and junior Pam Horner (3.87 kpg, 3.30 dpg). Last season, DWU went 18-19 overall and 6-10 in the NAIA Division III Great Plains Athletic Conference.
> Valley City State: Members of the NAIA Division III Dakota Athletic Conference-10, the Vikings are highlighted by senior Scheryl Kottsick (3.68 kpg, 5.28 dpg, 0.76 bpg), junior Sarah White (2.12 kpg, 0.91 bpg) and sophomore Karen Rawlings (3.32 kpg, 0.76 bpg). In 2002, VCSU tallied a 3-21 record, including a 1-11 mark in the league.

The Stat Machine - Lisa Smith

Senior outside hitter Lisa Smith is primed to make a name for herself in the school record books.

The Hastings, Minn., native recorded the 10th-best mark in school history with 337 kills in 2002. Smith is the active leader with six efforts of 20 or more kills and tied with Kristin Peterson for tops among active players with 23 double-digits in kills. The 2002 All-NSIC First Team selection needs just 200 kills to move into the BSU career top 10 list and 197 total attempts to break into the top 20. Bemidji State is 6-0 when Smith records 20+ kills in a match.

In 2002, Smith tallied four double-doubles including a 20-kill, 17-dig effort against Michigan Tech (9/14). Smith led the club in kills (337), kills/game (3.47), hitting percentage (.253), service aces (22), service aces/game (0.23) and solo blocks (19). Among her conference peers, she finished ninth in kills/game (3.47) and 15th in hitting percentage (.253 - 337/122/851).

The Assists Maker -- Kristin Smith

Junior setter Kristin Smith made her mark in the school annals in 2002. She ended the season with 1,163 assists which put her in fourth place. Smith was just 123 assists shy of Michele Dinius in the third spot as Dinius tallied 1,286 in 1999. On the career list, Smith holds down the seventh spot with 1,237 assists, needing just 106 to move into sixth-place.

Smith became the sixth Bemidji State athlete during the course of the 2002-03 season to be honored academically in the nation. She was recognized on the 2002 Verizon Academic All-District Women’s Volleyball College Division District V Third Team. Smith maintains a 4.0 grade point average in biology as a sophomore and has been a member of the Dean’s List for two semesters.

Recognized Among Her Peers

One of two all-conference performers returning from the 2002 squad is junior middle blocker Heather Haugen. Haugen, a junior from Lanesboro, Minn., led the 2002 team in total blocks (52) and was second in kills/game (2.73), total kills (257), solo blocks (14) and blocks/game (0.55). In the conference, Haugen was 17th in kills/game. Haugen ended the season strong as she posted double-digit digs in five of the final seven matches. A 2002 All-NSIC Honorable Mention selection, Haugen needs just 31 blocks to take over 14th place on the BSU career list. Her nine double-doubles is third on the active players list.

The Experience Factor

Looking back at her first two seasons, junior outside hitter Kelly Piper brings 199 games to her resume. As a freshman, Piper totaled the most game experience of all the first-year players and was one of three players to see action in all 101 games in 2002. Last year, the Eagan, Minn., native was second on the club in service aces (21), third in total kills (235) and fourth in total digs (228). Piper recorded all three career double-doubles last season including an 18 kill-15 dig effort vs. Northern State (10/26/02).

Looking To Get Back To 2001 Form

A combo of front-line seniors in middle blocker Nicole McDougall and outside hitter Kristin Peterson are coming off a 2002 season in which they combined to appear in just 89 games. Two years ago, McDougall saw action in 118 while Peterson was in 120.

McDougall maintained an 0.72 blocks per game clip last year, which was tops on the club. However, the 6-3 senior had better numbers in 2001 when she was a league honorable mention selection. The two-time NSIC Preseason Player to Watch led BSU in kills per game (2.80), attempts per game (7.69) and blocks per game (0.97) and was second in hitting percentage (.174). The Hitterdal, Minn., native broke over an 11-year BSU drought as she recorded a triple-double - 22 kills, 11 digs, 11 blocks against Minnesota-Morris, Sept. 21, 2001.

Peterson, who sits 16th for total attempts in a career (1,818), was the team leader in service aces (44) and digs (368) in 2001. The two-time Academic All-NSIC honoree ranked tenth in the league in digs per game (3.07) and amassed 10 digs in 19 of the 31 matches.

Liking the Floor Burns

When it comes to making digs, look no further than junior Kristine Engman. Engman is coming off a season in which she was first on the club in digs per game (3.26). Surpassing the 300-dig mark on the season (313), Engman kept alive a streak of six seasons in which a BSU player has dug at least 300 balls. The Virginia, Minn., native totaled 10 or more digs in 17 matches, including seven straight, averaging 4.43 digs during that stretch. In league games, Engman ranked 11th with 3.33 digs per game.
Engman moves from the libero position to outside hitter this season.

Schedule Notes

The NSIC/NCC Tournament held in mid-September pits BSU against solid regional teams outside the conference such as Nebraska-Omaha, South Dakota State and South Dakota. Falkenhagen likes the competition her team will get.

“ Most of the teams there are either in the top 25 nationally or recognized in the regional rankings,” said Falkenhagen. “It will show how tough we are and how much we want to be like those teams.”

South Dakota State University is ranked 15th in the 2003 American Volleyball Coaches Association Division Top 25 Preseason Poll. The Jackrabbits, which finished the 2002 season with a 28-7 record and a runner-up finish in both the North Central Conference and North Central Regional, were ranked ninth in the final Division II poll last season. The Jackrabbits have been ranked in the AVCA preseason poll every year since 1998, including a second-place showing in the 2002 preseason poll.

Two Northern Sun opponents in Concordia-St. Paul and Minnesota-Duluth will be important matches once league play begins. UM-Duluth cruised through the NSIC with a 18-0 mark last year to win its 20th championship. It maintains a .924 winning percentage (267-22), which leads all conference schools. C-SP went 13-5 in 2002, good for the fourth spot and a No. 7 ranking in the North Central Region.

“ They (UM-Duluth, Concordia-St. Paul) have been the stronger teams in the league the past couple of seasons,” said Falkenhagen. “We will have to go all out to show that we want to be contenders with them.”

The BSU Gymnasium

In the first two home contests in 2002, the 592 in attendance was the most in school history for back-to-back home matches. In addition, the home-opening crowd of 324 was the most since the 2001 lid-lifter when 375 fans came to watch the match vs. North Dakota (9/18/01).

The home court has treated BSU well as it maintained a 8-3 record last year, the best win percentage (.727) since 1999 when it had a .800 mark (12-3).

Ticket prices for home events are: $5 adults; $2 non-BSU students, alumni with ID; $1 children under 12; Free BSU students with ID. Tickets can be purchased at the gate the day of the event or by calling 218-755-3993.

Next Up...

Bemidji State hosts Mayville State (N.D.) for the 2003 home opener, Tuesday, Sept. 2 at the BSU Gymnasium. Match-time begins at 7:00 p.m. Then, BSU travels to Bismarck, N.D. for the University of Mary Tournament, Sept. 5-6.