DULUTH, Minn. - The Bemidji State University volleyball team ended the UMD Volleyball Invitational winless with losses to California University (Pa.) and Upper Iowa University on Saturday. The Beavers fell 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-25) to the Vulcans, a NCAA Tournament team in 2010. In the second match BSU battled but ultimately fell to Upper Iowa 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 26-24).
“It was a good, educational weekend for us,” said head coach Wayne Chadwick. “We knew this weekend was going to be tougher than last weekend. I’m still very excited for the rest of the season and I’m very excited for the growth and potential in this team. We needed a weekend like this to show where we are and what we needed to improve on.”
Despite the loss against California (Pa.), the Beavers got strong performances from Kimberly Hacker (Jr., MB/RS, Hutchinson, Minn.) and Rachel Craig (Fr., MB, Wadena, Minn.) Hacker had seven kills and hit .583 on the match. Craig, one of 10 newcomers this season for BSU, also had seven kills and hit .538 against the Vulcans. BSU struggled offensively as a team hitting only .155.
Senior Jessi-Beth McCannell (S, Brandon, Manitoba) led the Beavers with 16 assists. Defensively, libero Laura Carlson had 10 digs.
California was paced by junior outside hitter Brandy Harris’ 14 kills and .344 hitting percentage. The Vulcans hit .384 as a team in the match. Molly Delaney and Chelsea Wilson each added eight kills. Kelly Fromkencht and Abbey Freund combined for 34 assists.
BSU was led by junior Bethany Thompson’s (Jr., OH, Owatonna, Minn.) 11 kills in the second match of the day against NSIC foe Upper Iowa. Thompson hit .211 for the match. Craig and Hacker each chipped in seven kills.
McCannell led BSU in the match with 32 assists. Carlson had 16 digs and Thompson had 10 digs.
Bemidji State now has eight matches under its belt for a youthful squad that features 10 newcomers including three freshman (Craig, Kelsi Crawford and Kelly Niles) who have started every match for BSU so far this season. Crawford is currently ranked second on the team in kills, while Craig has the third-most kills on the team and leads BSU in blocks.
The Beavers will enter conference play on Tuesday against University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.