BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University volleyball team pulled off a stunning five-set victory, 3-2 (25-10, 20-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13) over St. Cloud State University on Saturday evening. The Huskies came into the game ranked 10th in the NCAA Central Region rankings released earlier this week. With the victory, the Beavers improve to 10-12 (4-10 NSIC). St. Cloud State falls to 12-10 (7-7 NSIC).
“The kids came out and played hard,” said BSU head coach Wayne Chadwick. “We had a couple of mental lapses in the second half of game but two give St. Cloud State a lot of credit, they came back and battled until the bitter end. St. Cloud State was the No. 10 team in the region so it is a great win for us.
Hannah Eilers (Jr., OH, Little Fork, Minn.) paced the Beaver attack on Saturday with a career-high 17 kills. She hit a team-high. 400 on the match. Eilers added nine digs for the Beavers. She came into the match hitting .102 with 88 kills in 55 games played this season. Bemidji State hit. 250 as a team through five sets with 60 kills.
Along with Eilers, the Beaver offense was guided by 12 kills from Nicole Olson (Sr., MB, Baudette, Minn.) and 10 kills from Kimberly Hacker (Jr., MB/RS, Hutchinson, Minn.). Olson hit .235 on the match, while Hacker hit .500 or above for the second-consecutive match. Setter Jessi-Beth McCannell (Jr., Brandon, Manitoba) had a career-high 53 assists on the night. It is the first time in her career that McCannell has gotten over the 50-assist plateau.
Defensively, BSU had 79 digs on the match. Libero Brie Groskreutz (Sr., Reedsburg, Wis.) led the way with 22 on the night. McCannell added 15 digs. Olson had two solo blocks and four block assists for BSU. Nicole Solum (Jr., RS, Spokane, Wash.) had five block assists.
St. Cloud State was led by 16 kills from Ashley Shields. The Huskies were held to a .184 hitting percentage on Saturday night. Erica Beacom added 15 kills for St. Cloud State and Lauren Cipperly had 14. Setter Jennifer Waterman had 52 assists on the night.
Defensively, libero Chelsea Nagle led the way with 30 digs. Ellie Dietzen had four block assists for the Huskies. Bemidji State came out and dominated the Huskies in the first set, 25-10.
Bethany Thompson (So., OH/MB, Owatonna, Minn.) had four kills and hit .571 to lead the Beavers. McCannell had 14 assists in the first set. The Beavers hit .379 in the first set. McCannell also led the way defensively with five digs. BSU held SCSU to a -.079 hitting percentage in the first set. The Huskies had only six kills in the set.
In the second set, St. Cloud State reversed their fortunes with a 25-20 victory over the Beavers and went up 2-1 with a 25-22 win in the third set. However, the Beavers used a 25-18 win in the fourth set and a 15-13 victory in the deciding fifth set to pick up the victory.
Coming into Saturday’s match eight of nine of the Huskies losses had come to opponents ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation. Their only nonranked loss came to Lock Haven, 3-2, on Sept. 4 in Big Rapids, Mich. at the Ferris State Tournament.
Bemidji State improves to 20-40 all-time against St. Cloud State. The Beavers beat the Huskies, 3-0, in their only meeting last season.
BSU will return to action on Oct. 29 as they head to the University of Mary for a 7 p.m. match. The Beavers defeated U-Mary to open conference play on Sept. 14, 3-0. They will continue their road trip on Sat., Oct. 30 as they face Northern State at 4 p.m., in Aberdeen, S.D. NSU defeated the Beavers, 3-1, in a nonconference match played in Moorhead, Minn., on Sept. 10. -bsu-