No. 25 SW Minnesota State deals BSU a 3-1 blow
Saturday, September 16, 2006
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- [box score] When you are up against one of the nation’s premier volleyball teams there is no room for mistakes. Saturday afternoon Bemidji State University discovered that the hard way dropping a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference match to Southwest Minnesota State University, 3-1 (30-13, 28-30, 30-20, 30-18). The Mustangs, ranked 25th in the latest American Volleyball Coaches’ Association coaches’ poll, took advantage of BSU miscues to improve to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in league play.

Bemidji State committed 53 unforced errors in the match, nearly doubling the errors of its opponent Mustangs who committed 35.

In the match the efficient offensive attack of SMSU hit .308 (65-16-159) while BSU struggled to find a hole in the Mustang defense. BSU hit .075 (47-34-173)--its second lowest offensive output of the 2006 campaign.

The Mustangs came out of the gates to stun BSU scoring 19 of the first 22 points. Junior All-American Erin Contons served nine points on the SMSU run. Despite four straight points by Bemidji State to close the deficit to 13-28, it was too little too late as the Mustangs went up 1-0 winning the game 30-13.

The Beavers bounced back in game two. After falling behind early, the team knotted the game a 4-4 and began to gain confidence along the way.

The Beavers and Mustangs tradede points for a large majority of the match, but with the score tied at 15-15, BSU would take the lead for good when SMSU’s Megan Wendorff hit into the net.

BSU would lead by as many as four late and used a kill from Chelsea Utzerath (Opp., Beavers Dam, Wis.) to put the game away (30-28) and even the match at 1-1.

The win also broke a strand of eight consecutive games lost to SMSU dating back to the 2004 season. It also marked he first time BSU had managed score more than 21 points in any game versus SMSU during the same span.

Southwest Minnesota State scored first in game three and would never trail in game. The visitors used a five-point run mid way through the game to expand its lead to 15-8 before going on to take a 2-1 advantage in the match with a 30-20 victory.

In game four, the Mustangs again led from wire to wire. The Beavers battled back to close the game to within one point, 9-8, but SMSU would respond by rattling off four of the next five points and would take a 20-12 lead later as Contons would again hold serve for the Mustangs serving five straight points in which BSU committed five consecutive errors.

SMSU went on to take game four 30-18 and the match 3-1.

Junior outside hitter Brittney Burns (LeSueur, Minn.) led the BSU attack collecting 19 kills on 55 total attacks. She added a team-high 16 block to record her seventh double-double of the 2006 season. Alicia Beaman (Jr., S, St. Paul Park, Minn.) also posted double-double numbers combining 11 digs with 35 assists. A third bright spot for BSU offensively was the play of newcomer Anna Leafblad. The 6-1 middle blocker from Coon Rapids, Minn. posted a career-best .375 hitting percentage (5-2-8) while equaling a career-high five kills.

Defensively for BSU four players recorded double-digit dig totals. In addition to Burns and Beaman, Brie Groskreutz (Fr., OH, Reedsburg, Wis.) and Allison Hyatt (Jr., DS/L, MineCentre, Ont. each added 12 defensive saves. Leafblad led BSU with two blocks.

The SMSU attack was led by Megan Wendorff who posted a match-high 20 kills. Contons added 14 while standing as one of two Mustangs to collect more than 25 digs. Libero Lauren Swain led all players with 28 digs.

At the net, seven Mustangs recorded at least one block led by a five-block performance by Kasey Loeslie.

Bemidji State falls to 6-8 on the year and 2-3 within the NSIC. The Beavers take a break from NSIC play as they wrap up their current four-match homestand by hosting North Central Conference rival University of North Dakota Tuesday (Sept. 19) at 7 p.m. at the BSU Gymnasium.