Beavers at U-Mary • Oct. 26 • 7 p.m.
All-time series: BSU leads 10-8
About the Marauders (3-18, 3-11 NSIC)...
After going winless in its nonconference slate, U-Mary sits ahead of three NSIC teams after posting three conference wins. After an 0-8 start, the Marauders rallied from 2-0 down to beat Bemidji State for its first win on Sept. 15 and won again in their next match against Minot State. Defensively, U-Mary is anchored by Valerie Lesu, who is sixth in the NSIC in digs per set at 4.47 (322 total). Paige Smith has also chipped in 59 total blocks. On offense, Allison Opp has paced the Marauders with 159 kills and Emily Turkowski has dished out 561 assists.
Bemidji State vs. U-Mary...
In 17 matches against U-Mary dating back to 1987, Bemidji State has posted 10 wins. U-Mary got its first victory of the season at home against the Beavers, 3-2, on Sept. 15. The home team has come out on top in eight of the teams’ previous nine matches, including both of last year’s meetings.
Beavers at Minot State • Oct. 27 • 3 p.m.
All-time series: BSU leads 6-0
About the Beavers (5-19, 1-13 NSIC)...
Minot State stands at 5-19 with a 1-13 mark in the NSIC in its first season as a member of the conference. After starting the year at 3-6, a home loss to Bemidji State in its first league match started a string of 11 straight NSIC losses, that came to an end on Oct. 16 when the Beavers beat intrastate rival U-Mary. MSU is led by outside hitter Mallory Sall, who lead the team in kills with 323 and 362.5 points. With set averages of 3.77 and 4.22 in those respective categories, Sall is fourth and third in the conference. Emily Byrne has had an admirable campaign as the team’s setter with 740 assists and Tarah Dabovich has been stellar at the net with 64 total blocks.
Bemidji State vs. Minot State...
Before their September encounter, BSU and Minot State have met previously five times as nonconference foes. Bemidji State has won all six meetings and earned its only NSIC win of 2012 in Minot.
Bemidji State will open the weekend on a 13-match losing streak that started back on Sept. 15 against U-Mary. On Senior Night, the Beavers will look for some revenge against the Marauders, who halted a season-opening, eight-match skid of their own by erasing a 2-0 deficit and a 13-10 BSU lead in the fifth set to win 3-2 on Senior Night. Saturday’s opponent, Minot State, might be looking for some revenge of its own against BSU. In MSU’s first-ever conference match as a member of the NSIC, Bemidji State cruised to a 3-0 road win. Both teams will play on Friday, but they enter the weekend with shares of last place in the NSIC with 1-13 conference ledgers.
Bemidji State will honor its only senior in Friday Night’s senior celebration. That player is Owatonna native, outside hitter, and team captain Bethany Thompson. Thompson enters the weekend with 925 career kills (279 in 2012), 10th on BSU’s all-time list.
Last Time Out
Last week, Bemidji State played three road contests in five days. The Beavers fell in all three matches, but showed positive signs that an end-of-the-year turnaround could be near by staying competitive in all three matches.
BSU began the week at Minnesota, Crookston, where it fell in three sets. After losing the first game 25-18, Bemidji State fell into a 20-9 in Game 2, but managed to tie the score at 24 before losing 26-24. UMC went on to take the 3-0 sweep with a 25-20 win in the third game.
To kick of the weekend, the Beavers trekked to Mankato to take on then No. 13 Minnesota State, where they lost 25-19, 25-18, 25-13. With 12 kills on the night, Bethany Thompson moved into sole possession of 10th on the program’s all-time kills list. Saturday’s match against No. 4-ranked (now second) and five-time defending national champion Concordia-St. Paul looked as if it would be an ugly match after a 25-9 first set loss, but BSU instantly improved in Set 2 in a 25-21 defeat. In the third set, CU completed the sweep, but the Beavers went toe-to-toe with the Golden Bears in a 29-27 tilt.
We Meet Again
Minnesota, Crookston, last Tuesday’s opponent, was the first of five teams Bemidji State will play for a second time. BSU will play U-Mary and Minot State this weekend and will travel to MSU Moorhead, and Northern State again.
Out for Revenge
Bemidji State will be looking for some revenge in its rematch with U-Mary on Friday. BSU led the Marauders 2-0 on Sept. 15, but the Marauders erased that deficit and a 13-10 deficit in the fifth set to get their first win of the year. BSU has lost 12 more matches in a row since that day. Minot State will be in a similar situation on Saturday. BSU spoiled its first-ever NSIC match with a 3-0 win and MSU went on to lose 11 straight NSIC contests.
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 3.99 (279 total) and second in points per game with 4.39 (307 total). Her kills per game put her at 17th in the nation and her points per set leave her at 25th. Courtney Volkmann is now first NSIC in service aces per game at 0.44 (31 total) and is 10th in assists per game with 9.09 (636 total).
Thompson Killing It
After posting 19 kills at Minnesota State and Concordia-St. Paul last weekend, senior Bethany Thompson now has 279 kills on the year. With 925 kills in her career, the senior captain is tenth on BSU’s all-time list and 75 shy of 1,000. She is also 77 kills from BSU’s top-ten list for kills in a season.
Aside from Bethany Thompson’s 279, three other BSU players have at least 100 kills. Kelsi Crawford is next on the list with 129, while Rachel Craig has 125. Kelly Niles now has 109.Elissa Christensen hit the 200 mark before last weekend began and added 11 more in two matches. Thompson (172), Courtney Volkmann (159), and Courtney Fox (143) also have 100+ digs. Volkmann has 636 assists and 31 aces.
According the Week 8 AVCA Division II volleyball rankings, there are five ranked teams on the Beavers’ 2012 schedule. There have been eight BSU opponents with recognition in the national rankings at the time of the match thus far. In addition to playing No. 2 Concordia-St. Paul and No. 14 Minnesota State last weekend, the Beavers have played No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State and No. 18 Wayne State, as well as vote-getter Ferris State. BSU also starts November at No. 5 Minnesota Duluth next Thursday.
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 seven of the 21 matches. Overall, the team returned eight letterwinners.