ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- After competing, but falling short to three nationally-ranked opponents in its last three matches, the Bemidji State University volleyball team continued to play at a high level and defeated St. Cloud State 3-0 (25-23, 32-30, 25-20) in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference match played at Halenbeck Hall, spoiling SCSU’s homecoming.
The Beavers (7-13, 4-6 NSIC) snapped a three-match losing streak with the win, but those losses came at the hands of No. 22 Wayne State (2-3), No. 10 Minnesota Duluth (2-3) and No. 1 Concordia University (1-3) in the last seven days. With such close battles against extremely tough competition, BSU was just waiting to prey on its next opponent. Unfortunately for the Huskies (6-16, 2-8 NSIC), they were the next in line for the win-hungry Beavers. The four conference wins is one more than last year’s output, as Saturday’s match marked the half-way point for the NSIC season. Junior Brie Groskreutz (OH, Reedsburg, Minn.) had a match-high 16 digs in the contest, moving her to eighth-place on BSU’s career digs list (since 1980) with 1,162 career digs.
BSU jumped on the Huskies from the opening serve and took a quick 8-2 lead in the first set. The Beavers would never trail in the first set, but SCSU never went away and was within one at 21-22. A Huskie attack error and a service ace from Groskreutz put the Beavers up 24-21, but the home team battled back to a score of 23-24. One of sophomore Courtney Bitter’s (S, Bemidji, Minn.) eight kills in the match sealed the deal for BSU and it took a 1-0 lead. The second set had both teams riding the momentum wave as SCSU took an early lead in the match at 10-7, but the Beavers went on a run to tie the match at 13-13, which included kills from five different hitters from BSU. The away team kept attacking and took a 23-19 lead before a timeout from the SCSU bench. The stop in play was what the Huskies needed as they went on a 4-0 run to knot the match at 23-23. Neither team could find a way to score consecutive points and the two squads went into extra points. The Beavers used a kill from freshman Laura Carlson (OH, Hutchinson, Minn.) and a service ace from Groskreutz to finish the set and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. The third and final set of the match was up for grabs for the first half, as the two teams were tied seven times, with the seventh time coming at 15-15. The Beavers then realized they wanted to make the trek home and turned up the intensity and made a 10-5 run to close out the set and the match. BSU got two kills each from Bitter, sophomore Laura Slinger (OH, Faribault, Minn.) and junior Nicole Olson (MB, Baudette, Minn.). Olson had the final two knock-downs for BSU, pushing her match total to a team-high 14.
Slinger had the second most kills for BSU with a career-high 13 and also tied a career-high in blocks with four (3 ba, 1 bs). Bitter posted 41 set assists in the match and added 10 digs, along with her eight kills. She has 10 double-doubles on the season, which is a team-high. Carlson had nine digs and eight kills. Freshman Samantha Hertaus (libero/ds, New Prague, Minn.) had 12 digs and sophomore Melissa McNeely (OH, Burnsville, Minn.) had a season-high 11 digs. Groskreutz had a season-high three service aces. BSU out-dug SCSU 65-56.
Notes: Second NSIC road victory surpasses last year’s mark of one...The seven overall wins ties last season’s win total...BSU finishes NSIC road trip 1-2 and is 2-4 in conference road matches this season.
BSU finishes a four-match road trip, Oct. 13, at the Division I University of North Dakota at 7 p.m.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).