BSU Volleyball falls short against No. 18 Rollins and Winona State
Friday, September 9, 2011
BSU Volleyball falls short against No. 18 Rollins and Winona State
DULUTH, Minn. - The Bemidji State University volleyball team put up fights in both of their matches on Friday to open the UMD Volleyball Invitational but ended up on the losing side against No. 18 Rollins College and Winona State University. The Beavers played a strong second set against the Tars, a NCAA Regional participant in 2010, but were unable to come away with a set win and thus lost the match, 3-0 (25-16, 23-25, 12-25). Against Winona State, BSU went down 0-2 to the Warriors but rallied back to take the third set 25-23. The Beavers didn’t go down easy in the fourth set but ultimately fell 26-24, losing the match 3-1 (25-15, 25-22, 23-25, 26-24). Bemidji State falls to 3-3 on the season.

In the first match of the day, Bethany Thompson (Jr., OH, Owatonna, Minn.) led the Beavers in kills with nine but hit only .107 against Rollins College on Friday. Kimberly Hacker (Sr., MB/RS, Hutchinson, Minn.) tallied eight kills and boasted a .353 hitting percentage and freshman Rachel Craig (MB, Wadena, Minn.) added seven kills and hit .636 against the Tars. The Beavers hit a strong .237 against their nationally ranked foes from Florida.

Senior setter Jessi-Beth McCannell (Brandon, Manitoba) led BSU with 28 assists. Defensively, the Beavers were paced by Laura Carlson’s (Jr., Lib., Hutchinson, MInn.) eight digs.

Rollins College hit .427 in three sets as a team on Friday. Megan Hodges, the reigning Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year, guided the Tars with 13 kills and a .321 hitting percentage. Middle Blocker Camille Indest was unstoppable with 12 kills and a .706 hitting percentage. Kiana Parks led Rollins with 28 assists.

The Tars were paced defensively by Phoebe Corder with 13 digs.

In the second match, which was a nonconference bout between NSIC foes Winona State and Bemidji State, the Beavers were led by freshman Kelly Niles (OH, Grand Rapids, MInn.) 15 kills. The newcomer hit .438 for the match. She was joined by Wadena-Deer Creek High School product Kelsi Crawford (Fr., OH/DS) with 11 kills and a .192 attack percentage. Thompson added 10 kills while Hacker tallied nine for the match. The Beavers struggled offensively hitting only .176 against the Warriors.

Setters McCannell and Courtney Volkmann (Fr., S, Wadena, Minn.) combined for 44 assists. McCannell led the way with 24 in the match.

Defensively, Carlson paced the Beavers with 23 digs in four sets. Niles and Elissa Christensen (Fr., DS, Montevideo, Minn.) each added 10 digs.

6-1 freshman outside hitter Rachel Polland led the Warriors with 13 kills and a .303 hitting percentage. Bekah Saugen added 12 kills and Kate Horihan and Katy Lohff each had 10 kills. Winona State hit .216 for the match. Sophomore Elena Kruesel aided the Winona State attack with 38 assists.

Defensively, two-time All-NSIC selection Shannon McGowan had 22 digs.

Friday continued the integration of several newcomers into the lineup for Bemidji State. The Beavers got strong performances from several newcomers including Niles with 20 kills on the night and a .500 hitting percentage. Craig chipped in 10 kills and hit .370 and Crawford had 15 kills and hit .333. One of the most surprising players so far has been walk-on newcomer Christensen who has been a strong back-line player for BSU thus far. Christensen had 13 digs on Friday.

BSU will continue play at the UMD Volleyball Invitational on Saturday with matches against California University (Pa.) at 11 a.m., and Upper Iowa University and 3 p.m.