WAYNE, Neb. -- Sophomore setter Courtney Bitter (Bemidji, Minn.) posted her second triple-double of the season, but it wasn’t enough for the Bemidji State University volleyball team to upset No. 14 Wayne State College. BSU won the first set, but fell 1-3 (25-22, 23-25, 21-25, 16-25). With the loss, the Beavers fall to 10-19 overall and 7-10 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, ending the 2009 road season.
Bitter had 42 set assists, 16 digs and 10 kills. Her last triple-double came Oct. 2 against Augustana, with 46 assists, a season-high 19 digs and a career-high 11 kills. Junior Brie Groskreutz (OH, Reedsburg, Minn.) posted her third 30-plus dig performance of 2009 with exactly 30. She now has 1,322 career digs moving to third on BSU’s all-time career charts (since 1980), surpassing Lora Hilger (1989-92), who had 1.304 career digs.
BSU stole the first match with solid hitting and strong defense, hitting .318 to WSC’s .171. The Beavers took a 3-2 lead off a Bitter kill, set-up by freshman Samantha Hertaus (libero/ds, New Prague, Minn.). With the early lead, BSU was able to do something they haven’t been able to do this season, keep the lead for the entire set. The Wildcats never even tied the set, despite getting within one on multiple occasions. Every time WSC would get close, the Beavers extended the lead. The Wildcats cut the deficit to 13-15, but a kill from sophomore Melissa McNeely (OH, Burnsville, Minn.) started a 4-0 run that put BSU up 19-13. McNeely had two kills and an assist in the run. WSC clawed its way back to within two at 21-23, but two kills from sophomore Laura Slinger (LS/MB, Faribault, Minn.) sealed the opening set for BSU.
The second set started poorly for BSU, falling into a 10-13 hole, but a 6-2 run by the Beavers turned the tables on a Wildcats clowder that committed four errors during the stretch. Unfortunately, for Bemidji State, WSC went on a four-point run of its own with two BSU errors helping them along. A timeout by BSU head coach Laurie Bitter helped the Beavers regroup and they tied the match 21-21 after kills from the Laura’s (Slinger and freshman outside hitter Laura Carlson). The Wildcats responded with three consecutive points to earn a 24-21 lead. A BSU charge fell short and the home team evened the match 1-1 with a 25-23 set victory. The third set was another tight one, but the Beavers failed to ever own a lead. With the score at 14-15, the momentum really went in WSC’s direction when it posted a 6-1 run. BSU was able to get within two at 19-21, but lost the set 21-25. It seemed the Beavers would push the match to a deciding fifth set, running out to a 7-3 lead. But the No. 14 Wildcats proved why they are one of the elite in the nation, clawing back to tie the match 14-14 and then rattling off nine straight points to crush any hopes for a Beaver upset. WSC went on to win the set 25-16 and the match 3-1.
With the loss BSU fails to defeat a ranked opponent in 2009, going 0-11. BSU hit a scorching .318 in the first set, but went ice cold the rest of the match with , .040, .077 and .041 in the second, third and fourth set, respectively. BSU had more kills (57-53) assists (57-52) and digs (98-88). The Beavers are now 8-2 with more kills, 8-2 with more assists and 6-2 with more digs than their opponent in a match. Four players posted double-figures in kills and five players had 10-plus digs. Hertaus had 17 digs, Carlson had 13 and junior outside hitter Lindsey Weyer (Loyal, Wis.) posted 10. Junior Nicole Solum (RS, Spokane, Wash.) posted a team-high 12 kills and hit .370. Junior middle blocker Nicole Olson(Baudette, Minn.) had 10 kills and six blocks (five assists, one solo). Slinger also posted 10 kills.
The Beavers close out the 2009 season at home Nov. 13-14 against Winona State University and Upper Iowa University, respectively.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).