Beavers close season with hard-fought 3-0 loss to (9) Mustangs
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Beavers close season with hard-fought 3-0 loss to (9) Mustangs
BEMIDJI, Minn.- The Bemidji State University volleyball team saw their season come to a close Saturday night as they fell 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-21) to No. 9 Southwest Minnesota State University at BSU Gymnasium. The match rounds out the careers of two BSU seniors, Kimberly Hacker (MB/RS, Hutchinson, Minn.) and Jessi-Beth McCannell (S, Brandon, Manitoba). Wayne Chadwick’s second year as head coach concludes as the Beavers finish 6-22 (3-17 NSIC). Southwest Minnesota State will most likely continue their season at the NCAA Central Region tournament as they are currently slotted No. 7 in the most recent poll. The Mustangs boast a 23-6 (17-3 NSIC ) record as they conclude the regular season.

The Beavers battled throughout the match as they notched several long rallies in all three games. In the third game, BSU had several opportunities to take control from the Mustangs as their largest deficit in the game was only four points. The Beavers led 21-20 in the game but Southwest Minnesota State used kills from Rachel Westby, Brooke Burmeister and Mary Groth, as well as a pair of service aces from Westby to take the game, 25-21 and the match, 3-0.

Bethany Thompson (Jr., OH, Owatonna, Minn.) put a fitting end to her strong junior season as she tallied her eighth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 17 digs. Thompson hit .346 for the match. The junior wraps up the season as the Beavers leader in kills (294) and finishes second on the team in digs (245). BSU hit .156 for the match with 31 kills and 14 errors on 109 attempts. Hacker wrapped up her BSU career with seven kills and hit .333 for the match. Her fellow senior, McCannell, tallied 26 assists.

Defensively, Thompson led the team with 17 digs while libero Elissa Christensen (Fr., Montevideo, Minn.) wrapped up her first season as the team’s defensive ace with 14 digs. Christensen notched seven games with 10 or more digs in her last 10 games this season as she assumed the role of libero following BSU’s match against Concordia University, St. Paul Oct. 11.

Southwest Minnesota State hit .310 for the match with 48 kills and 12 errors on 116 attempts. All-NSIC First Team selection Brooke Burmeister paced the Mustangs with 17 kills and hit .455 for the match. Fellow All-NSIC First Team pick Mary Groth picked up 11 kills while middle blocker Alyssa Taylor finished with 10 kills. All-NSIC First Team setter Cara Carson had 44 assists on the afternoon.

Defensively, libero Brittany Wenzel notched 20 digs while Taylor added one block assists and four solo blocks. Carson also tallied double-figure digs with 10.

The Beavers season was one of many ups and downs but the future for BSU remains bright as they are set to return a plethora of talent for the 2012 campaign. Included in the bunch are five freshmen who started matches for BSU this season led by Rachel Craig (MB/RS, Wadena, Minn.), the team leader in blocks (56). Also returning are Christensen, who notched 223 digs as a freshman and Courtney Volkmann (S/DS, Wadena, Minn.), who tallied 122 assists and 145 digs in her first season at BSU and is set to assume the setter role from McCannell next season. Kelly Niles (OH, Grand Rapids, Minn.) and Kelsi Crawford (OH/DS, Wadena, Minn.) also started matches for the Beaver with Crawford tallying 203 kills and Niles notching 124 kills. In addition the Beavers will return experience in Thompson at outside hitter, who took her game to the next level this season. Junior college transfer Leigh Peterson (DS, Deer River, Minn.) will also return after tallying 96 whiles, as will freshman Kristen Thingvold (OH, Crystal, Minn.)

As for BSU’s two seniors, Hacker wraps up her career with 440 kills and 140 blocks in 289 career games played. McCannell finishes her time as a Beaver netter as ninth all-time on the career assists charts with 1,806. She also tallied 808 digs for BSU in 318 career games played.