Beavers Continue Diet of Nationally Ranked Opponents with No. 23 MSU-Moorhead
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
The Bemidji State University volleyball team (4-7; 1-1 NSIC) returns to the BSU Gymnasium this weekend as they welcome Minnesota State University-Moorhead Friday at 7:00 p.m. and Northern State University Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in the team’s 2004 Homecoming match.

Quick Hitters

Monday, freshman Brittney Burns became the first member of the 2004 squad to be honored by the NSIC as a Player of the Week after leading the Beavers with 43 kills last week including a career-high 19 kills versus Winona State (9/18/04)

Each time she takes the court, senior middle hitter Heather Haugen is establishing herself as one of the greatest players ever to put on a BSU uniform. Tuesday she moved into 18th place in career games played while she ranks in the Top-10 at BSU in kills (8th), total attacks (9th) and solo blocks (T-9).

Making the move from defensive specialist to outside hitter for her senior season Kristine Engman set a new career-high with nine kills Tuesday at UMD (9/21/04)

Series History
BSU vs. Minnesota State-Moorhead
Friday’s meeting between the Beavers and the Dragons marks a continuance in the single oldest series in which BSU has participated. Beavers played MSU-Moorhead (then Moorhead State College) in its third-ever match. Since that inaugural meeting in 1969, the teams have battled 108 times. The Beavers hold a slight lead in the all-time series with a 55-52-1 record. In 2003, the teams walked away from the series with a win apiece. MSUM was victorious in the last meeting 3-0 (32-30, 30-28, 30-18).

BSU vs. Northern State
When the Beavers and Wolves take the to the court for Saturday’s matinee, it will be the 47th meeting between the teams. The Beavers are 29-17 since their first meeting in 1985. BSU comes into the match riding a three-match winning streak over NSU including a 2-0 record in 2003. Last season the Beavers needed four games to defeat the Wolves in their first meeting (30-26, 30-22, 20-30, 30-19) while they needed five games to take NSU in their second meeting (25-30, 28-30, 30-27, 30-26, 15-10).

About the Opponents
The Dragons
MSU-Moorhead comes into this weekend as one of the hottest volleyball teams in the country and their No. 23 ranking shows it. In the Dragons’ first 14 games, they have come away with a perfect 14-0 record--one of only four unbeaten teams in Division II. Their 2-0 record in league play puts them in a tie with No. 4 Concordia- St. Paul for the top spot.

Junior outside hitter Sigourney Schaffer leads the Dragon offensive charge topping the team with 189 kills and a .354 hitting percentage. She ranks eighth and second in the NSIC statistics respectively. Top assist-getter for MSUM this season has been Julie Vancura who has averaged close to 10 assists per game. Defensively senior Susan Kolbow tops the NSIC-leading squad with 255 digs (4.9 d/g). Freshman middle hitter/right side Tina Lensing ranks fourth among her conference colleagues posting 15 solo and 36 block assists to top the Dragons in that category.

The Wolves
Northern State comes into the weekend 3-12 overall and 0-2 in NSIC play. The team has lost seven straight matches and have not been victorious in a single game since Sept. 4th when the team lost 3-1 to Dickinson State. Before arriving in Bemidji, the Wolves will battle the University of Minnesota-Crookston Friday evening in Crookston, Minn.

Sophomore defensive specialist Katie Hegge headlines the team averaging just under five digs per game to lead the league. Junior middle blocker Chelsey Deibert is the teams top offensive player averaging 2.75 kills per game while hitting at a .219 clip. Freshman outside hitter Toni Heier has contributed in her first season collecting 459 kills this season for a 8.83 per game average. Senior right side player Tara Engquist and Deibert have teamed up on the Wolves’ front line. Together they lead the team each posting close to 0.6 blocks per game.

Last Time Out for the Beavers
Bemidji State looks to get back on track this weekend after dropping their last match to No. 6 Minnesota Duluth, 3-0 (30-23, 30-25, 30-18). The Beavers struggled to generate any offense hitting just .109 as a team stymied by the UMD front line which collected a total of nine blocks with six different players recording at least one. Newly converted Senior outside hitter Kristine Engman posted a career-high nine kills sharing the lead with freshman Brittney Burns. Senior Setter Kristin Smith topped the Beavers with 29 assists while freshman defensive specialist Alicia Beaman collected more then 10 digs for the fifth time this season (14).

In the BSU Gymnasium
Since Kim Falkenhagen took the reigns of the BSU volleyball program in 2003, the Beavers have posted a 8-5 record when playing on their home court including a 1-1 mark in 2004.

Taking on the Nation’s Best
Eleven games into the new season, the Beavers have already played five Top-25 teams accounting for five of the Beavers’ seven losses this season. This weekend the Beavers will encounter another one of those ranked teams in No. 23 MSU-Moorhead. Currently BSU has a 0-5 record when playing a team ranked in the AVCA polls. Since 2000 the Beavers have battled 15 ranked teams going winless in those games (0-15). The BSU last win versus an Top-25 opponent was versus No. 16 South Dakota State University (9/10/99).

The First Game Tells it All
This season the Beavers have had some glaring tendencies especially when talking about the relationship between the outcome of the first game and the match results. Through 11 matches, when BSU wins the first game of the match the team wins. When its opponent takes the first game the Beavers lose the match.

Burns Honored by the League
Freshman outside hitter Brittney Burns received her first NSIC Offensive Player of the Week award Monday after setting career-highs in kills (19), hitting percentage (.410 (19-3-39)), total attacks (42) and service aces (1). After posting a collegiate-high of 15 kills versus St. Cloud State (9/14/04), she broke her own career-best with a 19-kill performance four days later helping BSU to its first NSIC victory of the season.

Head Coach Kim Falkenhagen -- 2nd Season (19-26 Career Record, .422)
Second-year head coach Kim Falkenhagen, who tallied the second-most wins (15) as a BSU rookie general in 2003, became the 11th head coach after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at West Texas A&M. At WTAMU, 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.
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 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.
Falkenhagen is assisted by first-year graduate assistant Eric Carlson (Oakland (Mich.) ‘04), first-year student assistant Lisa Smith and second-year volunteer assistant Todd Frauenholtz (St. Cloud State ‘95).
−>First career collegiate win: 3-1 vs. Concordia-Moorhead, Aug. 29, 2003
−>First BSU sweep: 3-0 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, Aug. 30, 2003
−>First BSU road win: 3-1 vs. Concordia-Moorhead, Aug. 29, 2003
−>First BSU home win: 3-0 vs. Mayville State, Sept. 2, 2003
−>First BSU conference win: 3-0 vs. Minnesota-Crookston, Sept. 26, 2003

Expectations in 2004
After keeping up with a five-year trend of finishing in the middle of the pack in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), the 2004 Bemidji State Volleyball team is geared to get over that “hump.” Taking fifth in the 2003 NSIC standings, the highest since 1999, the Beavers went 15-17 overall and saw head coach Kim Falkenhagen lead her club to its most wins in four seasons. Consistency in the league has been the norm for BSU since 1999, finishing fourth, fifth, sixth on two occasions and seventh. But the glaring question is, how do Falkenhagen and her crew overcome that mediocrity?
“We have a lot of talent coming in and will build off the solid foundation that is already in place,” said Falkenhagen. “We have been getting better the last couple of seasons and expect to compete for those top three spots in the conference in 2004.”
Falkenhagen will have her hands full trying to replace the senior leadership from 2003. The fact that only three players graduated is a good thing; however the number does not begin to tell the true story. Nicole McDougall, Kristin Peterson and Lisa Smith played all four years and appeared in a combined 78 percent of the games. Between the three, they created 14 mentions in the BSU career record annals.
“We are not really replacing their talent because you can’t,” said Falkenhagen. “We are just filling their positions with eager athletes.”
Defense and serving was a strong suit last season. The 247.0 team blocks was the most since the 1999 club had 272.5 and the 87 solos was the highest output since 104 in 1995. BSU totaled nine matches of 10 or more blocks and nine matches with double-digits in service aces. Those figures were the best since the 1999 program recorded 13 matches of 10+ blocks and the 1997 team had 13 contests of 10+ service aces.
In conference action, the Beavers averaged 1.89 service aces per contest, good for third in NSIC rankings - BSU had just 1.17 per game in 2002 which was worst, statistically speaking. Also, 2003 saw BSU improve to 2.23 blocks per game which was up from 1.65 in 2002. Falkenhagen mentions that serving and blocking are two areas she emphasis to her squad.
“We did learn some completely different techniques for blocks and serves last season,” said Falkenhagen. “Those skills work better both with the style of our play and the style our girls need to be successful.”

What the Coaches Think in 2004
The 2004 Bemidji State volleyball squad was picked to finish fifth in the Preseason Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Volleyball Coaches Poll. The Beavers, who took fifth in the 2003 NSIC standings with a 7-9 mark, return six starters including 2004 NSIC Player to Watch senior Heather Haugen.
Just four points from the third spot and six from second-place, BSU received 48 total points, its highest mark in at least three seasons. BSU was tabbed seventh in 2003 and eighth in 2002 in the preseason voting.
Concordia-St. Paul, who advanced to the 2003 NCAA Division II National Championship and ranked No. 1 in the 2004 AVCA Preseason Poll, tallied 70 total points and seven first-place nods to get the number one league ranking. SW Minnesota State (54 points), MSU Moorhead (52) and Wayne State (52) fill the number two through four slots with the Dragons and Wildcats in a tie for third. Northern State (44), Minnesota-Crookston (42) and Winona State (30) round out the eight league institutions.

Turning the Corner
Last year, BSU rolled out to a 4-1 mark to begin the season. That fortune turned around several seasons of slow starts. In 2002, 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.

Program History
Bemidji State volleyball began in 1969 and holds an all-time record of 603-574-6 (.512). The Beavers own one Northern Sun Conference Championship (the NSC merged with the NIC before the 1992 season) earned in 1988. Prior to that, BSU nailed down seven Minn-Kota crowns (1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978). Since becoming a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (formerly the Northern Sun Conference) in 1979, BSU is 132-174 (.431).

The BSU Gymnasium
In the 2003 home opener, 397 fans came to see BSU sweep Mayville State for its third straight 3-0 win. It was the largest attendance in the rally scoring era (2001). The two contests to open the 2002 campaign saw 592 in attendance -- the most in school history for back-to-back home matches. The 2003 opening match in Bemidji extended a streak of three seasons in which the lid-lifters have been over 300: 324 against St. Cloud State (9/6/02) and 375 vs. North Dakota (9/18/01).
The home court has treated BSU well as it maintained a 8-3 record in 2002, the best win percentage (.727) since 1999 when it had a .800 mark (12-3). Last season, Bemidji State was 7-4 (.636) including a six-match winning streak spanning 2002 and 2003. The five home wins without a loss to begin the season was the best start since the 1979 team went 6-0.
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.

2003 Season Recap
The Bemidji State volleyball squad had its most successful season since 1999 and handed rookie head coach Kim Falkenhagen the second-best win mark as a first-year coach. The Beavers, which won four out of their first five matches, finished with a 15-17 overall mark.. Also, BSU took fifth-place in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference with a 7-9 record.
BSU hung tough in several affairs including a five-game setback to No. 13 Concordia-St. Paul, Oct. 24. It was just the third five-game match for the nationally-ranked Golden Bears against NSIC opposition during the course of 2003. Later in the year, Falkenhagen ignited the Beavers to a season sweep of Northern State, the first since 1997. In the season-ending road-swing at SW Minnesota State and Wayne State (Neb.), BSU came away with a blanking of Wayne, Nov. 15 - it was the first road win in the series and first win to end the season since 1998.
Success at the BSU Gymnasium has been a constant for the Beavers most recently. Overall, they went 7-4, including a 5-3 NSIC mark last year. The 3-1 win over Minnesota State-Moorhead, Oct. 4 marked the sixth consecutive home win dating back to the 2002 season. BSU has won 11 NSIC home matches in the last two seasons - tied for the most during a two-year span.
The team turned around their fortunes in several categories including service aces and blocks. The Beavers averaged 1.89 service aces per contest, good for third in NSIC rankings - BSU had just 1.17 per game in 2002 which was worst statistically speaking. Also, 2003 saw BSU improve to 2.23 blocks per game which was up from 1.65 in 2002. Overall kills (1,561) and assists (1,365) were the highest output in five seasons. On the serve, BSU had nine matches with double-digits in aces, taking second to the 1997 program (13 contests of 10+ service aces) for the best serve stats in the past seven years.
Defensively speaking, the 247.0 team blocks was the most since the 1999 team had 272.5 and the 87 solos was the highest tally since it went for 104 in 1995. The club totaled nine matches of 10 or more blocks, the most since the 1999 program recorded 13 matches of 10+ blocks. Also, the 16.35 digs per game average was the best in four seasons - the 2000 team was slightly better at 16.39.
Junior Heather Haugen, Kristin Peterson and junior Kristin Smith were recognized on the 2003 All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Volleyball Team. All three players received attention on the honorable mention squad. The three honors ties the 1995, 1989 and 1988 clubs for the most BSU all-conference selections in a single season.
Also, Kristin Smith earned Verizon/CoSIDA First-Team All-District V College Division honors. It marked Smith’s second career Verizon award as she received All-District Third Team honors in 2002. She led five BSU players named on the 2003 NSIC All-Academic squad.
Junior Kristine Engman completed the season with 370 digs, the most since Peggy Hammel-Moran had 433 in 1999. That performance followed up 313 digs in 2002 as she became the first player to have back-to-back 300+ dig seasons since Beth Fischer-Virnig (1999-2000). Peterson capped the season with her 30th career double-double against Wayne State (11/15) and ended the year with 17, the most since Jill Anundson had 18 in 2000. Lisa Smith and Nicole McDougall earned their second career NSIC Offensive Player of the Week honors in October.

Schedule Notes
• All league teams will participate in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament for the first time in history. The No. 1 seed hosts the tournament with all eight teams slated to compete. The winner automatically qualifies for the NCAA Tournament, Nov. 18-20.

• The season-opening Northern Michigan Tournament (August 28-29) is a special one of sorts as it is the homecoming of coach Kim Falkenhagen. Falkenhagen, 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 as a player.

• After 87 league meetings, UM-Duluth and Bemidji State will compete in a different setting. The Bulldogs, who ended 2004 with the No. 17 spot in the national rankings, will enter the North Central Conference for the 2004-05 season.

• A rare road swing through Missouri pits the Beavers against two clubs they have never faced, Missouri Southern and SW Baptist. MSC finished 17-13 and sixth in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. SW Baptist went just 2-28 overall.

• BSU has to deal with the prospect of five and six-game road stretches at different points of the season. That five-game streak closes out the campaign leading up to the NSIC Tournament. The season-ending road games seems to be a recent trend. Last year, BSU went on the road for four of the final five affairs. Both 2001 and 2002 saw the Beavers end with three consecutive road games.

• In the CSTV / AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll (Aug. 10), four opponents were recognized nationally. Concordia-St. Paul (1), Northern Michigan (14) and Minnesota Duluth (17) were listed in the Top 25 while South Dakota received three points.

#1 Kristine Engman - Sr., OH, Virginia, Minn.
Senior Season (2004): Moves to the Outside Hitter position after holding down the Libero/Defensive Specialist spot the past three seasons...Looks to become the fourth player since 1987 to exceed 300 digs in three straight seasons.
Junior Season (2003): Recorded the 10th-best mark in school history with 370 season digs...First on the team with 3.43 digs per game...Led or tied for team-high honors on 15 occasions in digs...Recorded 19 matches of 10 or more digs, including a stretch of nine straight...Went for 20-plus digs three times, tying a career-high 23 against Northern State (10/21)...Stood 12th in the league in digs per game.

#2 Kelly Piper - Sr., Opp. Eagan, Minn.
Senior Season (2004): Stands 265 digs away from the BSU Career Top 10 List...Averaged 196 kills in each of the last two seasons.
Junior Season (2003): Appeared in 91 of the 111 possible games due to an injured knee that kept her out of five straight matches early in the year...Third on the team in digs per game (2.81)..Notched her seventh career double-double with an 11-kill, 14-dig effort against Concordia-St. Paul (10/24)...Recorded four double-doubles on the year, including three in a four-match stretch...Went over 10 digs in 11 affairs with a season-best 17 against Northern State (10/21).

#3 Christa Anderson - Jr., OH, Siren, Wis.
Junior Season (2004): Sported #13 in her first two years at Bemidji State.
Sophomore Season (2003): The lone sophomore on the roster averaged 0.63 kills per game and 0.93 blocks per game; the blocks average was good for third on the club...Had at least two blocks in 14 of her appearances including personal-best eight against Winona State (9/19)...Had a stretch of 11 straight matches in which she recorded two-plus blocks and seven of those matches were 3 or more.

#4 Brittney Burns - Fr., OH, Henderson, Minn.
Prep Career: Finished her 2003 season second at LeSuer-Henderson High with 172 digs, third with 35 service aces and fourth with 155 kills...Four-year volleyball letterwinner and one year in track...Teammates with newcomer Brittney Carlson on the Kaepa Northern Lights 18-2 Team based in Burnsville, Minn...Was the prep 2000 Rookie of the Year and 2001 Most Improved Player...Helped engineer her team to a 28-3-1 overall record and sub-section champions as a senior...Team captain...National Honor Society member and A-Honor Roll student.

#7 Kathryn McCannell - So., S, Brandon, Man.
Freshman Season (2003): Battled a knee injury in 2003 that kept her out of 10 total matches including nine of 10 at one stretch...Appeared in 53 games, tops among the first-year players...Posted a career-best 11 digs vs. Mary (9/6) and was the starting setter for five matches prior to her knee injury against St. Scholastica (9/23)...During that five-match stretch, averaged 37.3 assist per game including a personal-high 48 assists against Winona State (9/19)...Amassed 30 or more assists in four matches, including 31 in the season-ending contest against Wayne State (11/15).

#9 Heather Haugen - Sr., MB, Lanesboro, Minn.
Senior Season (2004): 2004 Preseason NSIC Player to Watch...Is the first repeat all-conference selection since Michelle Dinius and Peggy Hammel-Moran accomplished the feat from 1997-99...Looks to become the seventh player in school history to record 800 career kills and 200 career blocks - she stands with 799 kills and 215 blocks...BSU is 8-2 when Haugen posts a double-double.
Junior Season (2003): Played in the most games of any Beaver (111)...Ended the year 15th on the school season charts in total attempts (889) and ninth in kills (354)...Was first on the team in hitting percentage (.251) and total blocks (104); second in kills per game (3.19) and blocks per game (0.94)...Hit for season-high 19 kills on two occasions...Notched 10th career double-double and first of the season with 12 kills and 10 blocks against No. 13 Concordia-St. Paul (10/24); the blocks total was a BSU single-match high and personal-best for Haugen.

#10 Heather Sjolie - Fr., Opp., Fergus Falls, Minn.
Prep Career: Was voted as captain, two-time Best Blocker and 2003 Best Hitter for Fergus Falls High...Lettered twice in volleyball and four times in track...Tallied 196 kills and 51 blocks in her final season...Holds the school record in the 1600M Relay and leaped 5’2” in the high jump...Member of National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa and A-Honor Roll.

#11 Lindsey Bromenshenkel - So., OH, Sauk Centre, Minn.
Sophomore Season (2004): Moves up to the Outside Hitter position after she spent time at defensive specialist to begin the 2003 season.
Freshman Season (2003): Saw action in 50 games, second amongst the newcomers and appeared in 26 of the team’s 32 matches...Averaged 0.98 kills per game and 1.34 digs per game on the year...Had personal best seven kills and 10 digs against Wayne State (11/15) in the teams final match...Averaged 3.7 kills during a nine-match stretch (Sept. 6-30) which was up from her 0.98 season average.

#12 Kristin Smith - Sr., S, Caledonia, Ill.
Senior Season (2004): Leads all active players with 23 career double-doubles...BSU is 8-1 when Smith has 55 assists or more...Looks to join Mary Gergen (1987-89) as the only players in history to notch three-1,000 season assists.
Junior Season (2003): Finished the season with the ninth-best assists mark (1,011) in school history...Became first player since the 1988-89 seasons to have back-to-back 1,000 assist seasons...Stands fifth on the BSU career assists charts with 2,248...First on team in assists per game (10.53) and fourth on the team with a 2.43 digs per game...Picked up her 13th career and sixth season 50-plus assist effort with 55 against No. 13 Concordia-St. Paul (10/24)...Led the team 25 times in assists, including the first 10 matches...Ranked sixth in the league with 10.41 assists per game, in league games only.

#13 Brittney Carlson - Fr., MB, New Prague, Minn.
Prep Career: Member of the Kaepa Northern Lights club team based in Burnsville, Minn. where she averaged 1.5 blocks per game and totaled 153 kills...Been part of the Ultimate High Junior Youth-17 Team for two seasons...Helped her volleyball squad to a second-place finish in the Missota Conference and a 10-17 overall mark for the 2003 season...Volleyball captain and Honorable Mention
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