BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University volleyball team begins Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference this week by travelling to St. Cloud State University and then hosting No. 7 University of Minnesota Duluth.
The Beavers (3-5, 0-0 NSIC) open the conference season on the road versus the Huskies (7-2, 0-0 NSIC) Thursday, September 14 followed by the team’s home opener against the No. 7 Bulldogs (7-1, 0-0 NSIC) Saturday, Sept. 16.
St. Cloud State: September 14th’s meeting between the Huskies and Beavers will be the 68th of the all-time series. St. Cloud State owns the all-time series record at 45-22 including winning the last meeting, 3-1, October 4, 2016. The last five meetings have been evenly matched but SCSU holds a slight edge over Bemidji State winning three of the last five. Head Coach Kevin Ulmer is 1-1 against the Huskies while coaching at Bemidji State.
Minnesota Duluth: Saturday’s match between the Bulldogs and Beavers will be the 109th of the all-time series. UMD dominates the all-time record at 97-10-1 and is on a 30-match winning streak against the Beavers. The Beavers last win against the Bulldogs came on Sept. 30, 1998 during the Donna Pavilec coaching era at BSU. Head coach Kevin Ulmer is 0-1 against the Bulldogs while at Bemidji State.
St. Cloud State: The Huskies begin league play this week after opening the season winning seven-of-nine matches against non-conference opponents. SCSU spent last weekend at the Keweenaw Classic going 2-2 during the tournament after earning wins against University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Lake Superior State University.
The Huskies are led offensively by senior Becca Gruber averaging nearly three kills per set (2.97), the 20th highest mark in the NSIC. SCSU also has senior Nicole Miller (2.88) and sophomore Hallie Hughes (2.00) averaging over two kills per set. Senior setter Kayla Crane leads the team in assists at 6.41 per set while freshman Maddy Torve adds 4.47 per set. Defensively the Huskies are led by sophomore Clara Krenz who averages 5.81 digs per set while freshman Sarah Colden protects the net averaging 1.00 blocks per set.
Minnesota Duluth: The Bulldogs come to Bemidji, Minn., ranked No. 7 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association poll after opening the season 7-1 in non-conference action. UMD also travelled to Houghton, Mich., last weekend to participate in the Keweenaw Classic going undefeated during the tournament.
The Bulldogs have two strong hitters on their squad in Makenzie Morgen and Sarah Kelly who each lead the team with 90 kills and 3.60 kills per set. Freshman Kate Berg also averages more than three kills per set, placing third on the team with 3.08 per set. Sophomore Emily Torve is the primary setter for the Bulldogs and is second in the NSIC with 12.79 assists per set. Senior Kelly Madison leads the Bulldog defense averaging 4.04 digs per set while senior Allison Olley protects the net with 1.00 blocks per set.
Newcomers making an impact early
The Bemidji State volleyball program has seen immediate impact from many of its newcomers this season. The Beavers are led on offense by junior transfer Mikhaila Ness and freshman Anna Averkamp who each average 2.06 kills per set. Bethel College (Ind.) transfer Sami Leach has also had a significant impact to the program ranking fourth on the team with 2.03 kills per set, leading the team in assists per set (6.41) as well as third in digs per set (2.59). Freshmen Becka Cronin, Becky Schroeder and Hope Splinter have also seen increased playing time as of late. Splinter leads the team in digs per set at 3.57 while Cronin and Schroeder have added 1.41 and 1.23 kills per set, respectively. Junior transfer Maddie Filipiak has anchored the Beavers net protection, and is tied for the team lead with 18 blocks as well as averaging 1.32 kills per set.
Where They Stack Up
Several Beavers have seen early success this season and rank in the top 20 in the NSIC in key statistical categories. Julie Touchett, Sami Leach and Emma Hallmann have all been productive to start the 2017 season.
Name Rnk Category Value
Julie Touchett 15th Hitting Per. .313
Sami Leach 14th Assists/Set 6.41
Emma Hallmann 2nd SA/Set 0.62
For more information on the Bemidji State volleyball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeaversVB), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers and Volleyball Facebook) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooden region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, BSU sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).