The Bemidji State volleyball program continued to show improvement under first-year head coach Wayne Chadwick in 2010 posting a 12-16 record. The 12 wins bested Laurie Bitter’s 11 wins in 2009 as the best BSU record since the 2003 season. Chadwick will look to build on his first year successes in 2011 despite a revamped roster that returns only six players and welcomes 10 newcomers to the fold.
The Beavers will be led by seniors Kimberly Hacker and Jessi-Beth McCannell who were both starters for BSU in 2010. They will be joined by juniors Bethany Thompson and Laura Carlson, who will both see increased roles for Chadwick’s squad. Halee Staskivige and Tina Tauer round out the returnees for the Beavers.
The returnees will be supplemented by 10 newcomers led by the Wadena-Deer Creek High School trio of Kelsi Crawford, Rachel Craig and Courtney Volkmann. Volkmann, the Minnesota Class AA Player of the Year will provide options for Chadwick at the setter position while Crawford and Craig are both expected to play vital roles as freshman. Also look for Kelly Niles and Kristen Thingvold to make an impact in 2011 along with a plethora of walk-on newcomers.
The 2011 schedule will provide much the same challenge that it did in 2010. The conference slate will feature two games with four-time defending National Champion Concordia University, St. Paul along with 2010 NCAA North Central Region Tournament participants University of Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Southwest Minnesota State University and Wayne State College (Neb.).
In addition BSU will play in nonconference tournaments at University of Sioux Falls and UMD. The tournaments will provide games against future NSIC members USF and Minot State University as well as against NCAA regional participants California University (Pa.) and Rollins College.
S 10 Jessi-Beth McCannell, Sr., Brandon, Manitoba
S 3 Courtney Volkmann, Fr., Wadena, Minn
S 8 Courtney Lermon, Jr., Owatonna, Minn.
Senior Jessi-Beth McCannell (Brandon, Manitoba) returns to guide the BSU attackers in 2011. The native of Brandon, Manitoba helped fill a major void for BSU with the depature of Courtney Bitter after the 2009 campaign. McCannell tallied 984 assists (10.04 assists/game) in her first full-year at setter after playing mostly as a defensive specialist her first two seasons at BSU.
McCannell will be aided by freshman Courtney Volkmann (Wadena, Minn.), the Class AA Player of the Year in the state of Minnesota. Volkmann guided Wadena-Deer Creek High School to a state title as a senior. With her talents, Chadwick is strongly considering running a 6-2 offense with McCannell and Volkmann both playing as setters at the same time on the court.
Junior College transfer Courtney Lermon (Owatonna, Minn.), who ranked 20th in assists in NJCAA Division III last season while playing at Rochester Community and Technical College will provide depth for the Beavers at setter this season.
OH/MB 2 Bethany Thompson, Jr., Owatonna, Minn.
OH/DS 6 Kelsi Crawford, Fr., Wadena, Minn.
OH/MB 5 Kelly Niles, Fr., Grand Rapids, Minn.
OH/MB 4 Tina Tauer, So., Marshall, Minn.
OH 7 Kristen Thingvold, Fr., Crystal, Minn.
OH/DS 13 Sammie Taube, Fr., Fairbanks, Alaska
Bethany Thompson (Jr., Owatonna, Minn.) returns to lead the Beavers at the outside hitter position. The junior was second on the team in kills last season to all-conference middle blocker Nicole Olson. Thompson recorded 217 kills (2.49 kills/game). She also ranked fourth on the team a season ago with 35 blocks (0.40 blocks/game). Tina Tauer (So., Marshall, Minn.) is the only other returner on the outside as the Beavers will look to a youth infusion for help for its two returners. Tauer appeared in only one match as a freshman but is expected to contribute as a sophomore.
Leading the youth movement for BSU at outside hitter will be freshmen Kelsi Crawford, Kelly Niles and Kristen Thingvold. The Beavers add depth on the ouside with walk-on Sammie Taube (Fr., Fairbanks, Alaska).
Middle Blockers/Right Side
MB/RS 9 Kimberly Hacker, Sr., Hutchinson, Minn.
MB 1 Rachel Craig, Fr., Wadena, Minn.
MB/OH 2 Bethany Thompson, Jr., Owatonna, Minn.
MB/RS 4 Tina Tauer, So., Marshall, Minn.
MB/OH 5 Kelly Niles, Fr., Grand Rapids, Minn.
Senior Kimberly Hacker (Hutchinson, Minn.) will lead the way for BSU in the middle for the 2011 campaign. The 6-2 player notched 160 kills and 42 blocks as a junior and factors in as the main replacement for two-time all-conference selection Nicole Olson. Hacker will be joined in the middle by freshman Rachel Craig (Wadena, Minn.), who joins high school teammates Crawford and Volkmann in the grenn and white. Craig, at 6-0, comes to BSU after leading Wadena-Deer Creek with 213 blocks as a senior.
Sophomore Tina Tauer, freshman Kelly Niles and junior Bethany Thompson all possess the ability to play middle blocker in addition to Hacker and Craig.
Lib. 11 Laura Carlson, Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.
Laura Carlson (Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.) is the leader in the race to replace BSU career digs leader Brie Groskreutz, who departed BSU last season after one of the best careers of any defensive specialist in program history. Carlson will have big shoes to fill but looks poised to pick up where Groskreutz left off. The junior from Hutchinson, Minn., notched 223 digs while serving as a defensive specialist for Chadwick as a sophomore.
DS/OH 6 Kelsi Crawford, Fr., Wadena, Minn.
DS 15 Leigh Peterson, Jr., Deer River, Minn.
DS 14 Elissa Christensen, Fr., Montevideo, Minn.
OH/DS 13 Sammie Taube, Fr., Fairbanks, Alaska
DS 16 Allie Carle, Fr., Maplewood, Minn.
DS 12 Halee Staskivige, So., Northwood, N.D.
Look for Kelsi Crawford (Fr., Wadena, Minn.) to find considerable playing time in the Bemidji State back-line. Crawford was part of the state champion Wadena-Deer Creek High School program a season ago.
Joining Crawford will be newcomers Allie Carle (Fr., Maplewood, Minn.), Elissa Christensen (Fr., Montevideo, Minn.), Leigh Peterson (Jr., Deer River, Minn.) and Sammie Taube (Fr., Fairbanks, Alaska), who will all battle for playing time in 2011.
Halee Staskivige (So., Northwood, N.D.) will redshirt the 2011 season and have three years to play starting in 2012.
Former BSU player Nicole Solum will move from the role of player to coach this season as she will serve as the graduate assistant under Chadwick. Solum was a captain and accomplished player under Chadwick and former coach Laurie Bitter after transferring from junior college.
Solum will be joined on the bench by former teammate Nicole Olson, who after one of the best careers of any BSU volleyball player in the program’s history, will assume a role as student assistant coach as she completes her degree during the 2011-12 school year.