Beavers vs. (RV) MSU Moorhead • Oct. 5 • 7 p.m.
All-time series: Dragons lead 67-55-1
About the Dragons (10-6, 2-5 NSIC)...
Minnesota State, Moorhead got off to a flying start to 2012 by going 8-1 in nonconference play and winning its first NSIC match in four sets against St. Cloud State. Since then, the Dragons have lost five out of six matches and have gone 0-4 on the road. Senior libero Katy Ness has led the way for MSU Moorhead from the defensive end. Ness recently earned NSIC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the fourth time this season. Her 377 digs lead the nation and are 117 more than any other player in the NSIC. Also on the defensive side of the ball freshman Kaitlin VanWinkle is tenth in the league in blocks per set at 1.03. Annie Palmquist leads the team with 178 kills.
Bemidji State vs. MSU Moorhead...
With 123 all-time meetings, MSU Moorhead is the most common opponent on BSU’s all-time schedule. MSUM has won the last 16 games dating back to 2003 and is 67-55-1.
Beavers vs. Northern State • Oct. 6 • 3 p.m.
All-time series: Beavers lead 33-28
About the Wolves (7-8, 2-5 NSIC)...
Northern State has had an up-and-down season to this point, with no winning or losing streaks of more than three games. The Wolves began the year with a 3-1 record at their own tournament, including a win over NSIC foe Minot State. NSU is 2-5 in NSIC play and is coming off a 3-1 victory against Sioux Falls. The Wolves have had a balanced attack that has seen Kelsey Chambers (149), Kaleinani Kabalis (137), and Jussy Tuscherer (126) each record over 100 kills. The attack has been spread by setter Drew Smith, who is eighth in the NSIC in assists per set at 9.72 (515 total). Defensively Sami Nygaard 151 digs and Chelsea Chavez has 47 blocks, both team-highs.
Bemidji State vs. Northern State...
The Beavers have a 33-28 all-time record against Northern State, but the Wolves have won four of the last five meetings, including 3-0 victories in the last two meetings in 2010 and 2011.
This weekend, Bemidji State will look to get back on track and snap a six-match losing streak by starting a four-match homestand at the BSU Gymnasium with meetings against MSU Moorhead and Northern State. BSU enters the weekend with a 1-6 conference ledger and both of this weekend’s opponents come in a 2-5 in the NSIC. Northern State will start the weekend with a match at Minnesota, Crookston, while MSU Moorhead will finish up its week against the Golden Eagles on Saturday. The Dragons, who received votes in the latest AVCA Division II Poll will be the fifth team BSU has faced with recognition in the national rankings in 2012.
Last Time Out
Last weekend, Bemidji State traveled south to take on Winona State and Upper Iowa in a pair of NSIC matches. On Friday, BSU dropped its fifth match in a row in consecutive sets to the Warriors (25-18, 25-20, 25-23). The Beavers dropped a 3-1 (25-21, 25-14, 23-25, 25-23) decision on Saturday at Upper Iowa. At the midway point in the regular season, Bemidji State stands at 3-11 with 14 games remaining, all NSIC contests.
In the weekend’s first match against WSU, the Beavers dropped the first set 25-18 after a slow start and kept the second set closer, but allowed the Warriors to pull away late for a 25-20 win. BSU again built on the previous set in Game 3, but Winona State managed to again emerge with the late at 24-20. The Beavers made their final charge and forced the home squad to take a timeout by making it a one-point game, but the Warriors came up with the last point to stay unbeaten in league play. The win was WSU’s 13th in a row, a program record.
On Saturday at Upper Iowa, Bemidji State was caught off guard in a 25-14 loss in the second set after playing a tough 25-21 first set. On the brink of an 18th-consective set loss and another overall loss with the score at 23-15 in Game 3, the Beavers reeled off 10 straight points to for an incredible comeback win, keeping the match alive. Down 23-18 in the next set, BSU almost accomplished a similar feat, but fell just short in a 25-23 loss.
Playing at Home
Bemidji State played its first nine games of the season at neutral sites or on the road before falling to Minnesota, Crookston, Augustana, and Wayne State at home. The Beavers have plenty of opportunities to pick up a home win as seven of their final 14 matches will be played at the BSU Gymnasium, including the next four.
Entering the third set of its match last Saturday against Upper Iowa, BSU had dropped 17 consecutive sets. The Beavers overcame a 23-15 deficit to snap the losing streak. Bemidji State dropped the match and will now work to put a halt to a six-match losing streak.
Two BSU Beaver volleyball players have landed themselves among the statistical leaders in the conference and in the nation. In the conference, Bethany Thompson is ranked second in kills per game at 4.12 (198 total) and second in points per game with 4.46 (214 total). Her kills per game put her at 14th in the nation and her points per set leave her at 20th. Courtney Volkmann is tied for second in the NSIC in service aces per game at 0.42 (20 total) and is 10th in assists per game with 9.40 (451 total).
According the Week 5 AVCA Division II volleyball rankings, there are six ranked teams on the Beavers’ 2012 schedule. MSU Moorhead, who received votes in the poll, will be the fifth BSU opponent with recognition in the national rankings at the time of the match.
Out and About
Bemidji State has completed half of its 28-game schedule for 2012 and has completed most of its travel already. Seven of BSU’s 14 remaining games are at home and the Beavers will only leave the state of Minnesota when they travel to Northern State (Aberdeen, S.D.) for a rematch of this Saturday’s match on Nov. 9.
A Career Weekend
In three matches at the UMD Volleyball Classic, 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 all three games, 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). Currently, with 844 career kills, Thompson is 73 shy of cracking the program’s top-ten list and just 156 short of 1,000.
The Beavers wrapped up nonconference play at the UMD Volleyball Classic on Sept. 7-8, beating Erskine and falling to Ferris State and Shippensburg. BSU finished non-NSIC play with a 2-5 record, bringing Wayne Chadwick’s nonconference record with the school to 11-12.
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, which lost six letterwinners, includes six freshmen and six sophomores.
...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 four of the 14 matches. Overall, the team returned eight letterwinners.