No. 23 MSU-Moorhead Defeats Bemidji State 3-2
Friday, September 24, 2004
BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Bemidji State University volleyball team (4-8; 1-2 NSIC) took an undefeated No. 23 Minnesota State University-Moorhead (15-0; 3-0 NSIC) team to five games in a heart-breaking loss (30-28, 20-30, 16-30, 30-16, 14-16) in front of 195 spectators in the BSU Gymnasium Friday night. Freshman Brittney Burns led the Beavers in the match with a career-high 20 kills.

In a match that was destined for five games from the begging, the equal talent on each side of the court was evident after a see-saw 30-28 BSU victory in game one. After Burns spurred the Beavers out to an early 8-3 lead with four kills, forcing MSU-Moorhead into a timeout. The Dragons responded by scoring eight of the next 12 points to knot the game at 12-12. As the game continued, the teams would trade points and the lead. BSU head coach Kim Falkenhagen called a timeout with the Beavers down 24-25 and BSU would respond scoring six of the next nine points to close the book on game one taking a 1-0 lead (30-28) in the match.

Game two started much like most of game one--deadlocked. After the first 20 points, the teams were tied 10-10, but that is where the Dragons would begin to pull away. Scoring 10 of the next 14 points, MSUM found itself up 20-14 behind three kills from Sigourny Schaffer. The Beavers battled to within five points (25-20), but MSU-Moorhead would finish the game by scoring five consecutive points, tying the match (1-1) with a 30-20 game-two victory.

The third game was all MSU-Moorhead. The Dragons served the first six points and scored 10 of the first 11 points of the game with four kills and a block from Chrissy Jacobs. Finding itself in a rather large hole to begin the game (10-1), the Bemidji State just could not make up any ground as the Dragons hit .324 (17k-6e-34att) taking the match 30-16.

Just when it began to look grim for BSU, the team came back with arguably its single-best game of the 2004 season. Hitting .607 (19k-2e-28att) as a team, BSU up 9-7 after the first 16 points of the game, went on a 10-4 run to jump out to 19-8 lead. BSU's Burns served the first seven points of the strand recording four service aces. After a MSUM timeout, the Beavers picked up where they left off collecting eight of the next 11 points to increase their lead to 24-11. Down the stretch senior Kristine Engman would come up big posting three kills as BSU equalized the match (2-2) with a 30-16 game-four win.

Extending the match to the fifth game was something the Beavers were not accustomed to doing. BSU ventured into the unfamiliar territory of game five for the first time this season and the first time since a 3-2 loss to Concordia University-St. Paul Oct. 24, 2003. After BSU jumped out to a 6-2 lead, MSUM would take a time out to gather themselves. BSU returned to the court to take an 8-3 lead before the teams changed sides. But as the teams changed sides, so did the momentum. The Dragons scored the first four points after the side-swap to battle to within one point (8-7). BSU countered with a three-point run of its own to extend its advantage to 11-7. But the wheels would begin to loosen the MSUM tied the game (11-11) on a pair of kills and two BSU attacking errors. After two quick Beaver kills, MSUM rattled off five straight kills as Jacobs and Becky Anderson would each record two kills to take the game (16-14) and the match (3-2).

The win extended the best ever start to a season to 15 consecutive games for the No. 23 Dragons who upped their overall record to 15-0 while they moved to 3-0 in NSIC play. The loss dropped Bemidji State to 4-8 overall and 1-2 in league play.

In addition to Burns' career-high kill total, she also set personal-bests in total attempts (55) and service aces (4) while tying career marks with an assist and three blocks. Engman collected her second career double-double with a collegiate 10 kills sharing the team lead 15 digs with senior Heather Haugen. Haugen finished just one kill shy of her first double-double of 2004 but led the Beavers hitting .250 (9k-3e-24att) and blocked a season-high seven MSUM attempts. Senior setter Kristin Smith topped the Beavers making 50 assists.

Bemidji State will be back in action Saturday (Sept. 25) when they host NSIC foe Northern State University (3-13; 0-3 NSIC) in a 3:00 p.m. match in the BSU Gymnasium.