DULUTH, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University volleyball team was able to take their second set this season from the No. 2 University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs but were unable to come away with the victory, losing 3-1 on Saturday evening at Romano Gymnasium. With the loss, the Beavers fall to 8-9 (2-7 NSIC). UMD improves to 16-1 (8-1 NSIC).The loss is the sixth straight for a BSU squad who has faced a ranked opponent in five of the last six matches.
“I thought we had a much better performance tonight than we did against Augustana and Wayne State last weekend,” said head coach Wayne Chadwick. “We got off to a slow start but came out in game two and jumped out on them from the outset. We really controlled the play of game two from the beginning. I thought we really battled them in game three, as well. We had a really solid first three games today but if you look at the stats after game four it doesn’t do justice for what I thought was a decent performance from us today.”
The Bulldogs came out of the locker room and quickly took the first set in a 25-13 decision before BSU bounced back in the second set for a 25-20 victory. Earlier this season, the Beavers captured the first set from UMD at BSU Gymnasium in Bemidji, Minn. However, the Bulldogs bounced back to win the third set, 25-21 and the fourth set, 25-13, to defeat Bemidji State.
UMD held Bemidji State to a .191 attack percentage on the game. Nicole Olson (Sr., MB, Baudette, Minn.) led the way with 11 kills for the Beavers. Hannah Eilers (Jr., OH, Little Fork, Minn.) also had an impressive outing with 10 kills and a .227 attack percentage. Bethany Thompson (So., MB/OH, Owatonna, Minn.) and Nicole Solum (Sr., RS, Spokane, Wash.) each chipped in nine kills. Solum hit a team-high .261 for the match. Setter Jessi-Beth McCannell (Jr., S, Brandon, Manitoba) tallied 42 assists in four sets.
Defensively, Brie Groskreutz (Sr., Lib., Reedsburg, Wis.) had 15 digs. McCannell and Laura Carlson (So., DS/OH) each had eight digs.
“I don’t think you can’t point out one player for us in the first three games because we had several players really have positive performances for us.” Chadwick said. “We just weren’t able to get on track in game four and were unable to take the match.”
Kate Lange led the Bulldogs with 16 kills. Lange also led UMD in kills in the first meeting between the two squads. Minnesota Duluth hit .380 as a team with 57 kills. Katie Kuffel chipped in 15 kills and Alyssa Nelson had 13 kills. Setter Eleena Iisakka finished the match with 43 assists.
Defensively, Iisakka led the way with 17 digs. Libero Allison Fanta had 10 digs as did Lange.
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series between the two schools 88-10-1. The only loss for UMD coming into Saturday evening came at the hands of No. 1 Wayne State College (Neb.) last weekend. Wayne State lost both of their matches this weekend, falling to No. 16 Minnesota State and No. 3 Southwest Minnesota State. Coming into the weekend, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference had the top three teams in the nation.
The Beavers will return to action on Tues., Oct. 12 when they face No. 7 Concordia University, St. Paul on the road.