Beavers snap seven-match losing streak in NSIC victory
Saturday, September 19, 2009

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University volleyball team snapped a seven-match losing streak and grabbed its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win of 2009 with a three-set sweep of the University of Minnesota, Crookston. The Beavers (4-8, 1-1 NSIC) cruised to victory (25-19, 25-13, 25-22) and kept the Golden Eagles (3-12, 0-3 NSIC) winless in conference play.

“It was a monkey off our back,” said head coach Laurie Bitter. “We needed a three-set sweep and we got it today, plus i almost got everybody in.”

The Beavers took the opening serve in set number one and grabbed a 5-0 lead, with junior Nicole Solum (RS, Spokane, Wash.) serving, and never looked back. UMC cut the BSU lead to 7-5, but that would be as close as they would come. The second set started with UMC serving, but the Golden Eagles fell out of rotation and the incorrect player served the first two points. On the third point, the game was stopped as the referees realized the mistake. The Beavers were awarded a point and the serve and made the Golden Eagles pay with a 8-0 run to begin the set. This time, freshman Laura Carlson (OH/Libero, Hutchinson, Minn.) served the rally for BSU. UMC never recovered from the serve mistake and would only muster 13 points in the set. In the third set, the Beavers figured out how to close out a match after failing to do so in previous matches during the losing skid. The Golden Eagles tested the Beavers the most in the final set, but strong play by BSU ensured a victory. UMC and BSU were tied 18-18, but Carlson came to the service line and put the Beavers up 20-18, including an ace, and BSU was able to hold the lead for the win.

“I thought Carlson, Courtney Bitter, Bethany Thompson and Jessi-Beth McCannell played a heck of a game,” Bitter said. “They really kept the whole team going.”

Carlson had a team-high 15 digs in the match. She replaced junior Brie Groskreutz (OH, Reedsburg, Minn.) in taking over the heavy digging duty, as Groskreutz had a previous engagement. Sophomore Courtney Bitter (S, Bemidji, Minn.) dished out 27 set assists in the match. Freshman Bethany Thompson (OH/MB, Owatonna, Minn.) had a team-high eight kills and two of the Beavers’ nine service aces. Sophomore Jessi-Beth McCannell (libero/DS, Brandon, Manitoba) had a season-high six digs and added one assist, playing in just her second full match of the season, as she has been recovering from an illness that put her out of action for the first four matches of 2009.

BSU begins conference road action Sept. 22 in Aberdeen, S.D. with a battle against Northern State.

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).