Beavers fall prey to Wolves in NSIC road opener
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ABERDEEN, S.D. -- The Bemidji State University volleyball team fell in its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference road contest of the 2009 season to Northern State University, Tuesday. The Wolves (7-5, 2-2 NSIC) proved to be too much for the Beavers (4-9, 1-2 NSIC) and won the match 3-1 (25-17, 25-19, 26-28, 25-13).

BSU again hurt themselves with errors and it proved to be its demise. Twenty-eight attacking errors led to a dismal .104 attacking percentage and 10 receiving errors never gave the Beavers a chance to start a rally and end the Wolves’ service. The long six hour trek down Interstate 29 may have slowed the Beavers, as BSU didn’t compete for a set until the third.

The first set began as an even match between the two teams, but at 11-9 NSU, the Wolves stormed out on an 8-0 run to push their lead to 19-9. During the run, the Beavers committed three attacking errors and had two receiving errors. BSU wouldn’t get within seven of the Wolves in the set and NSU took a 1-0 lead. Set two was more of the same and NSU took a 2-0 lead, as the Beavers fell behind early and couldn’t dig their way back.

The Beavers were determined to avoid their fifth shutout of the season in the third set and pushed the Wolves into extra points. At the beginning of the set, NSU shot out to an early lead, looking to put BSU away, but errors on the Wolves’ side of the net put the Beavers back in the set and the two teams proceeded to exchange points all the way to 21-21. NSU had match point at its finger tips at 24-22, but kills by sophomore outside hitter Melissa McNeely (Burnsville, Minn.) and junior Nicole Solum (RS, Spokane, Wash.) knotted the set at 24-24. The two teams then traded points and the set was again tied at 26-26, this time junior Nicole Olson (MB, Baudette, Minn.) took the set into her own hands and slammed down a kill and then added her 11th block solo of the season to give the Beavers the set victory.

Unfortunately, the excitement took a lot out of the Beavers and fired-up the Wolves and NSU sailed to a 25-13 set win and took the match 3-1. Sophomore Courtney Bitter (S, Bemidji, Minn.) had 36 set assists in the match, tying her third largest output of the season. Olson had a team-high 11 kills and junior Brie Groskreutz (OH, Reedsburg, Minn.) had a match-high 21 digs.

BSU continues its three-match conference road trip Sept. 25 against Winona State at 7 p.m.

NOTES: Groskreutz now has 1,029 digs in her career, she surpassed the 1,000 dig mark in the 0-3 loss to MSU Moorhead, Sept. 18...BSU is now 32-26 all-time against the Wolves, but only 1-9 in the last 10 meetings.

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