BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) - The Bemidji State University volleyball team dropped a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) affair to No. 16 Minnesota Duluth in three sets (25-15, 25-22, 25-23) Tuesday evening at the BSU Gymnasium on the campus of Bemidji State University.
The Bulldogs hit for .194 (50k-26e-124at) as a team en route to their 17th consecutive win over BSU while improving the school’s record all-time versus BSU to 85-9-1.
Bemidji State was led by the trio of Jennifer Janckila (Sr., MB, Appleton, Wis.), Melissa McNeely (Fr., OH, Burnsville, Minn.), and Kimberly Hacker (Fr., MB, Hutchinson, Minn.) who each netted a team-high five kills.
Defensively, Courtney Bitter (Fr., S, Bemidji, Minn.) led the charge as she tied a career-high with 16 digs. As a team the Beavers caused havoc at the net garnering eight blocks led by Janckila who sent back four (0bs-4ba) while Heather Sampson (So., OH, Brooklyn Park, Minn.) had three blocks (1bs-2ba) on the night.
Bitter led the Beavers offense with 19 set assists to go with her 16 digs for her team leading fourth double-double of the season.
Minnesota Duluth had a very even paced offensive attack as three Bulldogs garnered double-digit kills in the match. Sarah Wyffels and Jamie Lakatos each posted twelve kills while April Hansen added 10 kills. Rachel Jacobson led the Bulldogs defensively with 17 digs while Hannah Johnson and Brenda Hansen each added 12 digs. Katie Gangelhoff paced the Bulldogs offensive attack with 44 set assists.
Minnesota Duluth charged out of the gate to put BSU in an early hole 4-1. The Bulldogs continued to apply pressure and increased their lead at a gradual pace before taking the first set 25-15, the largest point spread of the set.
In set two the Beavers held the lead for the majority of the set before the experience of the Bulldogs eventually took over. The teams traded points to begin the set with neither team finding much separation until the Beavers took a 8-6 lead off a hitting error by Sarah Wyffels. BSU could not extend its lead any larger than two points in the set as BSU held a two point lead nine different time during the course of the set. With the score at 20-18 in favor of the Beavers, the No. 16 ranked team in the nation turned up the pressure scoring seven of the next nine points to take the second set 25-22 and a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
Set three looked like the Bulldogs were going to run away with the set and the match as Brenda Hansen served six of the first seven points to give UMD a 7-0 lead before BSU got on the board off an attack error by Lindsey Clairmont. BSU continued to battle and closed the gap to two points at 13-11 off a kill by Hacker. UMD rattled off the next four points to push its lead back to six, 17-11 but BSU did not give up as the Beavers came back with a run of their own scoring ten of the next 15 points to close the gap to 22-21. The teams traded points for the remainder of the match and BSU would run out of time as a kill by the Bulldogs Hannah Johnson gave UMD the set, 25-23 and the match 3-0.
Tuesday’s contest marks the fourth time BSU has run into a nationally-ranked opponent this season. The Beavers continue to search for their first win versus the top-25 under second year head coach Laurie Bitter and are now 2-69 versus the best in the land all-time.
Bemidji State (6-14; 2-6 NSIC) will attempt to put an end to its current three match losing skid this weekend when it host No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul on Friday night at 7 p.m. and will wrap up the week of play with a 4 p.m. tilt versus the St. Cloud State Huskies on Saturday at the BSU Gymnasium.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).