BSU Volleyball opens conference home slate
Thursday, September 15, 2011
BSU Volleyball opens conference home slate

Setting The Scene

Friday, September 16
Opponent: Minnesota State University Moorhead
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Bemidji, Minn.
Arena: BSU Gymnasium
Live Stats: http://www.bsubeavers.com/media/livestats/volleyball/xlive.htm
Live Video: NMTV

Saturday, September 17
Opponent: University of Minnesota, Crookston
Opponent: 3 p.m.
Location: Bemidji, Minn.
Arena: BSU Gymnasium
Live Stats: http://www.bsubeavers.com/media/livestats/volleyball/xlive.htm
Live Video: NMTV

Bemidji State University Preview
Over the last two weeks the Beavers experienced a trial by fire as they looked to get much needed experience for 10 newcomers before the start of a tough NSIC season. Coach Wayne Chadwick saw strong performances from several of the new faces but unfortunately Bemidji State struggled in the win-loss column coming out of nonconference play with a 3-6 mark. However, included in their nonconference schedule were two 2010 NCAA Regional participants in Rollins College and California University (Pa.).

Bemidji State has been led thus far by junior outside hitter Bethany Thompson (Owatonna, Minn.). Thompson, the NSIC Player to Watch for the Beavers, has averaged 2.97 kills per game and is hitting .198. BSU currently boasts a .187 hitting percentage as a team. Thompson is joined on the offensive attack by newcomers Kelsi Crawford (Fr., OH/DS, Wadena, Minn.), Rachel Craig (Fr., MB, Wadena, Minn.) and Kelly Niles (Fr., OH, Grand Rapids, Minn.) They have each started all nine matches for Chadwick’s squad.

At setter, Jessi-Beth McCannell (Sr., Brandon, Manitoba) has gained the bulk of the playing time. McCannell is averaging 8.47 assists per set. Courtney Volkmann (Fr., Wadena, Minn.) is slowly getting engrained into the system and has appeared in every match so far this season. Volkmann is averaging 3.50 assists per game thus far.

Defensively, Laura Carlson (Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.) paces the Beavers at libero. Carlson is averaging 3.48 digs per game. Thompson has chipped in 2.39 digs per game and is currently second on the team in the category.

Scouting The Opponent: MSU Moorhead

The Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons come into the weekend with a 3-5 mark on the season.  The Dragons are led by defensive ace Katy Ness at libero. Ness was selected as this week’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Defensive Player of the Week. The junior has averaged 5.03 digs per game so far this season.

Offensively, the Dragons are hitting .171 as a team coming into the week. 5-11 junior outside hitter Heidi Lensing paces the offensive attack for MSU Moorhead averaging 3.26 kills per set and hitting .199. She is joined on the attack by sophomore outside hitter Annie Palmquist, who enters the BSU match averaging 2.65 kills per game and hitting .179.

At setter, Anna Olson paces the Dragons with 10.29 assists per game.

Scouting the Opponent: Minnesota, Crookston
The University of Minnesota, Crookston Golden Eagles enter play this weekend with a 4-5 mark. Coach Lee Anderson is looking to turn around a program that went winless last season.

Minnesota, Crookston has gotten a strong performance from Brittany Looker so far this season. The freshman outside hitter is averaging 3.97 kills per game and is hitting .236. The Golden Eagles enter the weekend hitting .181 as a team. Looker is aided on the attack by Amanda Swann. The junior outside hitter is averaging 2.14 kills per game for Minnesota, Crookston.

At setter, junior Kelsey Matykowski comes into the match averaging 9.09 assists per game.

Defensively, sophomore libero Chelsea Wiesner has paced the Minnesota, Crookston defense averaging 4.80 digs per game.

Series History: MSU Moorhead
The Dragons lead the all-time series with Bemidji State 65-55-1. MSU Moorhead captured both matches in 2010, winning 3-1 in Moorhead and 3-2 in Bemidji.

Series History: Minnesota, Crookston
Bemidji State leads the all-time series with Minnesota, Crookston 19-9. The Beavers have won the last three matches including two wins last year over their rivals from right down Highway 2.

Top Returnees

MB/RS 9 Kimberly Hacker, Sr., Hutchinson, Minn.
S 10 Jessi-Beth McCannell, Sr., Brandon, Manitoba
Libero 11 Laura Carlson, Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.
OH 2 Bethany Thompson, Jr., Owatonna, Minn.

Newcomers to Watch

MB 1 Rachel Craig, Fr., Wadena, Minn.
OH/DS 6 Kelsi Crawford, Fr., Wadena, Minn.
OH/MB 5 Kelly Niles, Fr., Grand Rapids, Minn.
S 3 Courtney Volkmann, Fr., Wadena, Minn.

2011 Stat Leaders

Kills: Bethany Thompson (98)
Hitting Percentage: Rachel Craig (.377)
Assists: Jessi-Beth McCannell (254)
Service Aces: Bethany Thompson (12)
Digs: Laura Carlson (115)
Total Blocks: Rachel Craig (20)

Match Starters

(All Players Have Started Nine Matches)
OH 2 Bethany Thompson, Jr., Owatonna, Minn.
MB 9 Kimberly Hacker, Sr., Hutchinson, Minn.
MB 1 Rachel Craig, Fr., Wadena, Minn.
OH 5 Kelly Niles, Fr., Grand Rapids, Minn.
DS 6 Kelsi Crawford, Fr., Wadena, Minn.
S 10 Jessi-Beth McCannell, Sr., Brandon, Manitoba
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