Beavers at (5) Minnesota Duluth • Nov. 1 • 7 p.m.
All-time series: UMD leads 78-8-1
About the Bulldogs (23-2, 14-2 NSIC)...
Second-place and fifth-ranked Minnesota Duluth is led by Kate Lange, who ranks first in the NSIC and second in the NCAA with 4.90 kills per set. She leads the conference with 426 kills. Kalli Lochner (.352) and Monica Turner (.335) have the third- and fifth-best hitting percentages in the league and setter Ashley Hinsch has the third-best assists per game average at 12.09. Julie Rainey is second in the NSIC in digs per set with 4.91. Rainey is one of four players in the league with more than 400 digs at 427. Also on defense, Turner has 87 total blocks (1.01 per set).
Bemidji State vs. Minnesota Duluth...
In 87 all-time meetings, Minnesota Duluth has a 78-8-1 record against BSU, dating back to 1972. After starting with a 7-8-1 record against UMD, BSU has won just once in its last 71 meetings against the Bulldogs between 1978 and 2011, a five-set win on Sept. 30, 1998.
Beavers vs. St. Cloud State • Nov. 3 • 3 p.m.
All-time series: SCSU leads 41-20
About the Huskies (6-18, 2-14 NSIC)... The Huskies, who have lost eight straight matches, are paced defen- sively by freshman defensive specialist Brianne Stramer, who entered Thursday with the fifth-highest digs per set in the NSIC at 4.56. She was third overall in the conference in overall digs with 415. Also pitch- ing in on defense are Ellie Dietzen and Kellan Flynn, who had 81 and 67 total blocks, respectively. Dietzen also leads the way offensively with a team-high 275 kills, while Rachel Burke has the top kills per game average at 2.43. Setting them up has been Erin Ohlemann, who has dished out 655 assists.
Bemidji State vs. St. Cloud State...
St. Cloud State owns a 41-20 advantage in the all-time series against BSU. The Beavers, however, have had the upper hand in the in-state rivalry of late, winning the last four matches dating back to Nov. 4, 2008. Bemidji State head coach Wayne Chadwick is 2-0 aginst SCSU.
Before playing road matches against Northern State and MSU Moorhead to conclude 2012, Bemidji State will play its only Thursday match of the season on the road against No. 5 Minnesota Duluth and complete its home schedule on Saturday afternoon against St. Cloud State. The Huskies and Beavers entered the weekend with identical 2-14 NSIC conference records, tying them for 14th place, while UMD is 14-2 and sits in a tie for second place. Going into its Thursday match against Minnesota, Crookston, St. Cloud was on an eight-match losing streak and a stretch that included 13 losses in its last 14 matches. BSU, which snapped 13-match skid of its own on Senior Night last Friday, heads into its second-to-last weekend after falling to Minot State in its weekend finale five days prior. Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud are the last two new opponents on BSU’s schedule after Bemidji State fell to Minnesota State and Concordia-St. Paul two weeks ago. The Beavers did not play UMD at the Duluth Volleyball Classic in September.
One of the top stories for BSU this season has been the play of its lone senior and team captain, Bethany Thompson. The Owatonna, Minn. native has been dominant, ranking second in the conference in kills per set at 4.09 and second in points per set at 4.48. Thompson moved into BSU’s top 10 in career kills on Oct. 19 against Minnesota State and eclipsed the 300-kill mark for the first time in her career last week against Minot State. She entered Thursday’s match 43 kills shy of becoming the ninth Beaver all-time to reach 1,000.
Last Time Out
Last weekend, Bemidji State avenged a September loss to U-Mary that sparked the program’s second-longest losing streak. The Beavers, who relinquished a 2-0 lead against the Marauders in their September encounter, finished the job in three sets on Friday to get back in the win column. The following day, Minot State got some revenge of its own against BSU, taking a three-set win that came after Bemidji State spoiled MSU’s NSIC debut in September with a 3-0 road win. Minot State’s victory was its first over BSU in seven all-time meetings.
All-time, BSU is now 11-8 against U-Mary.
After playing Minnesota, Crookston, U-Mary, and Minot State for the second team each, Bemidji State will play the final new opponents on its schedule this week. Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State will be the 21st and 22nd new opponents BSU faces in 2012.
Losing Skid Snapped
Last weekend, Bemidji State snapped the a 13-match losing streak which tied for the second-longest skid in program history. The streak began with a 3-2 loss to U-Mary on Sept. 15 and ended with a 3-0 victory over the Marauders on Oct. 26. This week, BSU will look to snap a 25-match losing streak against Minnesota Duluth and will look to continue a four-match winning streak against St. Cloud State
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 32 kills last weekend against U-Mary and Minot State, senior Bethany Thompson now has 311 kills on the year. With 957 kills in her career, the senior captain is tenth on BSU’s all-time list and 43 shy of 1,000. She is also 45 kills from BSU’s top-ten list for kills in a season with four matches to play.
Aside from Bethany Thompson’s 311, three other BSU players have at least 100 kills. Kelsi Crawford is next on the list with 145, while Rachel Craig has 134. Kelly Niles now has 114.Elissa Christensen hit the 200-dig mark before last weekend began and added 23 more in four matches. Thompson (185), Courtney Volkmann (179), and Courtney Fox (159) also have 100+ digs. Volkmann has 697 assists and 32 aces.
According the Week 9 AVCA Division II volleyball rankings, there are six 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. 20 Minnesota State last weekend, the Beavers have played No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State and No. 16 Wayne State, as well as No. 25 Ferris State. BSU starts November at No. 5 Minnesota Duluth on 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 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 23 matches. Overall, the team returned eight letterwinners.