DULUTH, Minn. (Romano Gymnasium) - For the first time in school history the Bemidji State University volleyball team played two ranked opponents in one day. The Beavers were swept by No. 12 Minnesota Duluth (17-25, 19-25, 16-25) and went four sets with No. 9 Western Washington before falling, 3-1 (21-25, 31-29, 10-25, 19-25 ) in the opening day of the UMD Kraus Anderson Classic.
The Bulldogs hit .325 ((38k-12e-80at) as a team en route to their 17th consecutive win over BSU while improving the school’s record all-time versus BSU to 84-9-1. Minnesota Duluth held the Beavers to their lowest hitting percentage of the season .024 (28k-26e-84at) in the match.
Bemidji State was led by three players who pounded down six kills. Nicole Olson (So., MB, Baudette, Minn.), Hannah Eilers (Fr., OH, Little Fork, Minn.) and Kimberly Hacker (Fr., MB, Hutchinson, Minn.) combined for 18 of the Beavers 28 kills. It was the third consecutive match that Eilers led the Beavers in kills while Hacker’s six kills was a new career-high.
Defensively, Jessi-Beth McCannell (Fr., LB, Brandon, Manitoba) led the charge for the seventh time this season with a match-high eight digs. Hacker caused havoc for the UMD attackers as she garnered a career-high four blocks (0bs-4ba) in the match.
For the tenth straight match, Courtney Bitter (Fr., S, Bemidji, Minn.) led the Beavers offensive attack with 21 set assists. It is the ninth time this season that Bitter has compiled at least 20 assists in a match.
The Bulldogs attack was very affective as they has three players hit over .300 in the match. Sarah Wyffels led the Bulldogs with a match-high 10 kills hitting .556 (10k-0e-18at). Hannah Johnson had nine kills hitting .412 (9k-2e-15at) while Jamie Lakatos pounded out six kills hitting at a rate of .385 (6k-1e-13at). Rachel Jacobson led the Bulldogs defense with six digs, while Lindsey Clairmont picked up five blocks (1bs-4ba). Katie Gangelhoff paced the offense for the Bulldogs with 36 set assists.
With the loss the Beavers are now on a eight match losing streak to the Bulldogs at Romano Gymnasium and are 3-29-1 all-time versus UMD in Duluth, Minn.
In the second match of the day the Beavers played its best match versus a nationally ranked opponent in over six years as they took the No. 9 Western Washington Vikings four sets before being upended 3-1.
For the second consecutive match the Beavers were out hit as the Vikings hit at a rate of .253 (57k-20e-146at) to the Beavers .188 (50k-23e-144). The story of the match was errors as BSU committed 14 more errors than did their opponents. BSU committed 45 errors, 23 attack errors, six serving errors, eleven receiving errors, and one blocking error to its counterparts 31 errors. The Vikings had 20 attacking errors, seven serving errors, three receiving errors, and one ball handling error.
For the third time this season Olson led the Beavers attack as she netted 12 kills off 38 attempts. Eilers and Jennifer Janckila (Sr., MB, Appleton, Wis.) were second on the team with eight kills apiece.
McCannell paced the Beavers on the defensive side of the net with 16 digs. Heather Sampson (So., OH, Brooklyn Park, Minn.) controlled the net as she tied a season-high four blocks (0bs-4ba).
Bitter notched her third career forty set match with 41 set assists. The freshman setter also tied a career-high 10 digs to go with her 41 assists for her second career double-double performance.
The Vikings were led by Megan Amundson and Tiana Roma who each had double-digit kills. Amundson posted a match-high 19 kills while Roma added 14. Allison Gotz and Shasta Bennett held down the defensive side for WWU as Gotz had 22 digs with Bennett chipping in 11. Kari Rice paced the Vikings offense with 47 set assists.
Bemidji State (4-7; 0-0 NSIC) will be back in action tomorrow afternoon when the Beavers play another first time opponent in the New Haven Chargers at 3 p.m. in BSU’s final match of the UMD Kraus Anderson Classic.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).