BSU falls in tight battle to No. 3 SMSU Mustangs
Saturday, November 1, 2008

BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) - In a tight-knit battle the Bemidji State volleyball team dropped its tenth consecutive match falling to the No. 3 Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs at the BSU Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon. The Mustangs upended the Beavers by scores of 25-22, 15-25, 14-25, 13-25.

The Beavers attack was as effective as it has been in the last month as they collected 36 kills hitting at a .126 (36k-20e-127at) clip as sophomore Nicole Olson (MB, Baudette, Minn.) and freshman Melissa McNeely (OH, Burnsville, Minn.) paced the team with 10 kills apiece. It was the seventh time Olson has led the Beavers in kills and it was a new career-high for McNeely.

Jessi-Beth McCannell (Fr., LB, Brandon, Manitoba) was the Beavers’ leading defensive player as she led BSU with 12 digs for the sixteenth time this season. Jennifer Janckila (Sr., MB, Appleton, Wis.) once again controlled the net for the Beavers tying a career-high with seven blocks (0bs-7ba) on the afternoon.

Setter Courtney Bitter (Fr., S, Bemidji, Minn.) collected 27 assists in the match and was also an active part of the BSU passing game netting 10 digs for her team-leading sixth double-double of the season. Allison Kunde (Jr., S, Burnsville, Minn.) added 10 digs in the match.

The Mustangs were led by the trio of Maggie Geske, Devin Diedrich, and Kasey Loeslie who combined for 45 of SMSU’s 62 kills. Geske pounded out a match-high 16 kills while Diedrich had 15 and Loeslie netted 14 kills in the match. Reigning NSIC Setter of the Week Sara Graf led the Mustangs offensive attack with 49 set assists while Sarah Quiram had a match-high 23 digs.

With the turn of the calender into the month of November Bemidji State came out in set one on a mission. The Beavers took set one from the No. 3 Mustangs which was the first time the Beavers have garnered a set from a ranked opponent since Sept. 16, 2006 when they grabbed a set from then No. 25 Southwest Minnesota State. It was also the first time BSU's has won a set in over a month as BSU did not win a set in the whole month of October.

Set one began with the Mustangs jumping out to a 3-0 lead before the Beavers got on the board off a kill by Laura Slinger (Fr., OH, Faribault, Minn.). With the score in favor of SMSU at 4-1 the Beavers went on a 9-1 run behind the serving of Kunde and Olson to take a 10-5 lead forcing the Mustangs to take a time out. The Mustangs battled back and closed the Beavers lead to one point on three different occasions but the Beavers held off the Mustangs and stole set one 25-22 off an attack error by Loeslie.

A kill by McNeely followed by her lone ace of the match gave BSU a 2-0 lead to start set two. The Mustangs quickly grabbed the lead with a 5-1 run and never looked back as they coasted to a 25-15 set two win to tie the match a 1-1 heading into the intermission.

For the second straight night the Beavers came out sluggish after the break and Southwest Minnesota State took advantage downing the Beavers 25-14. Set three the Beavers only hit .031 (6k-5e-32at) while the Mustangs hit .289 (19k-8e-38at). Set four was another dominating set for the Mustangs as they hit .186 points better than the Beavers giving BSU a 25-13 game for loss to take the match.

With the win the Mustangs improve its record to 50-31 over the Beavers and extend its winning streak to eleven matches over BSU. The last time the Beavers beat the Mustangs was on Oct. 18, 2003 at the BSU Gymnasium when BSU defeated the Mustangs in four sets. The Mustangs are now 12-14 all-time at the BSU Gymnasium.

Bemidji State (6-21; 2-13 NSIC) will be looking to stop a ten-match losing skid on Tuesday, Nov. 4, as the Beavers head to St. Cloud, Minn. to take on the St. Cloud State Huskies from Halenbeck Hall. St. Cloud state beat the Beavers earlier this season 3-0 in Bemidji, Minn. First serve of the match is set for 8 p.m.

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).