Beavers open NSIC play on the road in North Dakota
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Beavers open NSIC play on the road in North Dakota

Beavers at Minot State • Sept. 14 • 7 p.m.
All-time series: BSU leads 5-0
About the Beavers (3-6, 0-0 NSIC)...

Minot State, a newcomer to the conference will play its first game as a member of the NSIC against Bemidji State on Friday. The Beavers have gotten off to a 3-6 start in pre-NSIC play, including a 3-0 loss to future NSIC opponent Northern State. MSU began its season with a 3-0 win over Black Hill State and broke up ensuing three-game losing streaks with wins against Valley City State and Chadron State. BHSU avenged its loss to Minot State with a 3-2 win. Mallory Sall leads the Beavers with 114 kills while setter Emily Byrne has 272 assists. Sall and Byrne enter the Battle of the Beavers tied for the team lead in digs with 76 apiece.

Bemidji State vs. Minot State...
BSU and Minot State have met previously five times as nonconference foes. Last season, Bemidji State opened its season by beating MSU in five sets. BSU also defeated Minot State 3-0 in 2011.

Beavers at U-Mary • Sept. 15 • 3 p.m.
All-time series: BSU leads 10-7
About the Marauders (0-7, 0-0 NSIC)...

U-Mary has come up winless in two tournaments leading into conference action. After suffering 3-0 setbacks to Lake Superior State and Upper Iowa in Fayette, Iowa in their opening weekend, the Marauders took the South Dakota School of Mines to five sets before dropping Game 5 by a 15-9 score. U-Mary is led in kills by Allison Opp’s 55, while Emily Turkowski has 188 assists. Defensively, Valerie Lesu has led the way with 98 digs and Allison Adams has been impressive at the net, contributing toward 20 blocks. Behind Adams is Paige Smith with 13 total blocks.

Bemidji State vs. U-Mary...

In 17 matches against U-Mary dating back to 1987, Bemidji State has posted 10 wins. Last season, the teams split two NSIC matches that were both decided by 3-1 scores. The home team has come out on top in seven of the teams’ previous eight matches including both of last year’s matches.

Nonconference Play
The Beavers wrapped up nonconference play at the UMD Volleyball Classic last weekend, beating Erskine and falling to No. 19 Ferris State and Shippensburg. BSU finished non-NSIC play with a 2-5 record, bringing Wayne Chadwick’s three-year nonconference record with the program to 11-12.

A Career Weekend
In three matches last week, senior outside hitter Bethany Thompson beat or tied personal career bests in kills (24), digs (21), aces (4), blocks (3), and assists (3). Her performance, which saw her collect a double-double in each game, earned her a spot on the UMD Classic all-tournament team as well as Beaver Pride Athlete of the Week honors (third of her career).

NSIC Leaders
After two weeks of play, Bethany Thompson and sophomore setter Courtney Volkmann have landed themselves among the statistical leaders of the NSIC. Thompson is ranked second in kills per game at 4.08 (98 total) and second in points per game with 4.48 (107.5 total). Volkmann is tenth in assists per game at 9.29 (223 total) and second in service aces per game at 0.62 (15 total).

More Help in the Middle
After missing the first four matches due to injury, freshman middle hitter Chelsea Frison jumped into game action for her collegiate debut last week. In her first three games, she posted 17 kills and seven blocks.

Tough Schedule
According the AVCA’s current Division II volleyball rankings, the Beavers will face seven ranked teams. In addition to playing 19th-ranked Ferris State last Friday, BSU faces six top 25-ranked NSIC opponents, including three teams ranked in this week’s top four.

Out and About
Bemidji State’s 2012 schedule doesn’t feature much travel and the Beavers took care of a big chunk of it two weeks ago. BSU made its longest trip of the season to Pittsburg, Kan. and played four of its eight out-of-state matches. After its two matches this weekend, Bemidji State will only leave Minnesota to play on the road against Upper Iowa and Northern State.

A Young Squad...
The Beavers entered the season with only two upperclassmen: Bethany Thompson, the lone senior and team captain, and Halee Staskivige, who sat out last season. The rest of the 14-player roster consists of six freshmen and six sophomores. The team lost six 2011 letterwinners.

...But an Experienced Squad
Though the team only has one senior and one junior, the Beavers have brought back several players who played key roles on the team in 2011. Six members of the current team started at least one of last season’s 28 matches: Bethany Thompson (28), Rachel Craig (28), Kelsi Crawford (17), Kelly Niles (17, Courtney Volkmann (11) and Elissa Christensen (1). Thus far in the season, each of freshman has seen playing time in at least three matches. Overall, the team returned eight letterwinners.

Trying Something New
Former Ball State (Division I) captain and Northwerstern State graduate assistant Elaina Kakatolis is joins the team as the program’s first full-time assistant coach. Graduate assistant coach and former Beaver Nicole Solum returns for a second season.