Beavers at (13) Minnesota State • Oct. 19 • 7 p.m.
All-time series: MSU leads 31-18
About the Mavericks (14-6, 8-4 NSIC)...
No. 13 Minnesota State began the season hot and emerged as one of the NSIC’s top teams with a 5-1 record, but have gone 3-3 since Sept. 29, losing to three teams included in this week’s AVCA rankings. Now standing in a tie for fifth place in the league, MSU’s more notable wins came against Concordia-St. Paul on Sept. 18 and Wayne State on Oct. 5. The Mavericks’ Ellie Van De Steeg leads the conference with 896 assists, while Chelsea Fogarty is tied for fourth in kills per set at 3.73 (291 total). Also among the conference’s leaders are Jill Storlie (1.21) and Courteney Steinhauser (1.01), who are fourth and sixth, respectively, in blocks per set. They have 173 total blocks combined.
Beavers at (4) Concordia-St. Paul • Oct. 20 • 4:30 p.m.
All-time series: CU leads 24-9-1
About the Golden Bears (16-3, 10-2 NSIC)...
Five-time defending national champion Concordia St.-Paul is strong again in 2012, entering the weekend in a tie for second place in the NSIC. Entering the weekend, the Golden Bears have won six straight matches, all by 3-0 scores. CU is led by Ellie Duffy, who is eighth in the NSIC in kills per game with 3.43 (216 total), eighth in points per game with 4.01 (252.5 total), and third in service aces per game with 0.40 (25 total). Amanda Konetchy is second in assists per game with 12.77 (817 total) and CU’s Cassie Haag and Kayla Koenecke are also over 200 kills at 211 and 210, respectively, and own the league’s top two hitting percentages at .397 and .376.
Bemidji State vs. Concordia-St. Paul...
After going 9-2-1 in its first 12 matches against the Golden Bears, BSU has lost 22 straight to Concordia St.-Paul, only winning three sets in that span. The Beavers’ last win over CU was on Nov. 2, 2001.
Bemidji State vs. Minnesota State...
On Friday, the Beavers will look to snap both an 11-match losing streak overall and an 11-match losing streak to MSU. The Mavericks lead the all-time series 31-18 and haven’t lost since Sept. 13, 1997.
This week, all 16 NSIC teams began with a match on Tuesday before playing two on the weekend. Bemidji State will enter the weekend with an 11-match losing streak that dates back to Sept. 14 when it took down Minot State and the weekend slate won’t make snapping the skid any easier. The Beavers will play two ranked opponents, starting with No. 13 Minnesota State on Friday and ending with fourth-ranked Concordia-St. Paul, winner of five consecutive NCAA Division II championships.
Earlier this week, the Golden Bears redeemed their first NSIC loss of 2012 with a convincing home win against Minnesota State by beating the Mavericks 3-0. MSU took down Concordia-St. Paul on Sept. 18 in five sets in Mankato.
Last Time Out
Last weekend, Bemidji State closed out a four-match homestand, its longest of the year with 3-0 losses against then-No. 2 (now top-ranked) Southwest Minnesota State and Sioux Falls. The Beavers began a string of three consecutive road matches on Tuesday with a trip to Minnesota, Crookston. BSU fell 3-0 again, putting up a battle in all three sets.
The first set was knotted a nine when UMC took over and went on a five-point run from which Bemidji State could not recover. The five-point run turned into a 15-4 run that put the Golden Eagles up by 11 before BSU went on a point streak at the end to make the final 25-18.
The Golden Eagles came out strong in the second set and led 20-9 at one point, but the Beavers willed their way back into contending to tie the overall score at one. BSU went on a 15-4 run to tie the score at 24, but UMC took the final two 26-24 win to enter the intermission with a 2-0 lead.
In Game 3, BSU came out stronger than in either of the first two sets and took a 12-7 lead, but Minnesota, Crookston quickly erased that and scoring seven straight times to regain control. From there, the Golden Eagles staved off a Beaver rally by taking 11 of the match’s last 19 and won 25-20.
We Meet Again
Minnesota, Crookston, Tuesday’s opponent, was the first of five teams Bemidji State will play for a second time. BSU also plays U-Mary, Minot State, MSU Moorhead, and Northern State again.
Two BSU Beaver volleyball players have landed themselves among the statistical leaders in the conference and in the nation. In the conference, Bethany Thompson is ranked second in kills per game at 4.06 (260 total) and second in points per game with 4.44 (284 total). Her kills per game put her at 18th in the nation and her points per set leave her at 24th. Courtney Volkmann is now first NSIC in service aces per game at 0.44 (28 total) following a two-ace match against UMC and is 10th in assists per game with 9.16 (586 total).
Thompson Killing It
After posting a match-high 16 kills against Minnesota, Crookston on Tuesday, senior Bethany Thompson now has 260 kills on the year. With 906 kills in her career, the senior captain is 11 shy of cracking the program’s career top-ten list in that category and 94 short of 1,000. She is also 96 short of reaching the top ten most kills in a season in BSU history.
Aside from Bethany Thompson’s 260, three other BSU players have at least 100 kills. Rachel Craig and Kelsi Crawford each have 118 and Kelly Niles now has 101 after notching two against UMC. With eight digs in the team’s last match Elissa Christensen hit the 200 mark.
According the Week 7 AVCA Division II volleyball rankings, there are five ranked teams on the Beavers’ 2012 schedule. This week, No. 13 Minnesota State and No. 4-ranked Concordia-St. Paul will become the seventh and eighth BSU opponents with recognition in the national rankings at the time of the match. In addition to CU and MSU upcoming, the Beavers have played No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State, No. 18 Wayne State and are still slated to face, and vote-getters Augustana and Ferris State. BSU also starts November at No. 6 Minnesota Duluth.
Out and About
Bemidji State has completed over half of its 28-game schedule for 2012 and has completed most of its travel already. Three of BSU’s nine remaining games are at home and though six of the team’s game are on the road, Beavers will only leave the state of Minnesota when they travel to Northern State (Aberdeen, S.D.) on Nov. 9 for a rematch of their Oct. 6 contest won 3-0 by the Wolves
The Beavers wrapped up nonconference play with a 2-5 record, bringing Wayne Chadwick’s nonconference record with the school to 11-12.
A Young Squad...
The Beavers entered the season with only two upperclassmen: Bethany Thompson, the lone senior and team captain, and Halee Staskivige, who sat out last season. The rest of the 14-player roster, which lost six letterwinners, includes six freshmen and six sophomores.
...But An Experienced Squad
Though the team only has one senior and one junior, the Beavers have brought back several players who played key roles on the team in 2011. Six members of the current team started at least one of last season’s 28 matches: Bethany Thompson (28), Rachel Craig (28), Kelsi Crawford (17), Kelly Niles (17), Courtney Volkmann (11), and Elissa Christensen (1). Thus far in the season, each freshman has seen playing time in at least six of the 19 matches. Overall, the team returned eight letterwinners.