Beavers venture to Crookston for Tuesday night match
Monday, October 15, 2012
Beavers venture to Crookston for Tuesday night match

Bemidji State at Minnesota, Crookston
Oct. 16, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Lysaker Gymnasium (3,000)
History: BSU leads 20-11

The Bemidji State volleyball team will travel to Minnesota, Crookston on Tuesday night for a rematch of its Sept. 18 home opener. The Beavers enter the match having lost ten staight matches dating back to Sept. 15 when the team let a 2-0 lead disappear on the road against a then-winless U-Mary team. The second game of BSU’s current skid came against the Golden Eagles. After beginning the season with a nine consecutive matches away from home, Bemidji State’s homecoming party was crashed by the Golden Eagles, who won in three highly-competitve sets, 25-23, 27-25, 25-21. Bethany Thompson recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 17 kills and 10 digs, but it wasn’t enough.

Tuesday’s rematch will be UMC’s Dig Pink match, where the team will be wearing pink and raising money for breast cancer awareness. BSU lost last week in its Dig Pink match against SMSU.

Last Time Out
Last weekend, BSU wrapped up a four-match homestand to begin the month of October with matches against newly-crowned No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State and NSIC newcomer Sioux Falls. The team was coming off a 3-0 loss to MSU Moorhead and a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Northern State the previous weekend. The NSU match marked the only home set the Beavers had won all season.

The Beavers played tough against an overpowering Mustangs squad, but came up short in a 25-12, 25-11, 25-16 loss. Senior captain Bethany Thompson was held to a season-low five kills, a number that was also achieved by sophomore Kelsi Crawford. Despite the diminished kill total for Thompson, she did set a career high with four total blocks. With wins against BSU and Minnesota, Crookston last weekend and a loss by then-No. 1 Nebraska-Kearney, SMSU moved to the top spot in the national rankings.

Saturday’s match against Sioux Falls finished with another 3-0 loss, but it was a much tighter contest.  The Beavers kept close the entire first set and seemed entirely capable of taking a 1-0 lead as the game went through seven lead changes and 12 tied scores, but the Cougars emerged on top with a 25-22 victory. The second set was an even tougher defeat for the Beavers, who played their longest game of the season. Sioux Falls pulled out a close win again with at 29-27, taking a 2-0 lead into the intermission. The third set was a close one, but BSU fell short in a 25-18 affair.

The loss to the Cougars came in the teams’ third all-time meeting after the Beavers’ went 2-0 in matches in 2010 and 2011. The contest marked the first time the two schools met as conference foes, as USF was an independent team prior to joining the NSIC this season.

About the Golden Eagles (8-10, 4-7 NSIC)...
Following a 12-18 campaign last season, Minnesota, Crookston is having a similar year in 2012 with an 8-10 overall record and a 4-7 ledger in the NSIC. After beating BSU, the Golden Eagles lost six straight matches before topping Sioux Falls 3-1 last weekend. UMC is led at the service line by Brittany Looker and Alexandra Skeeter, who are tied for second in the NSIC with 0.39 aces per set (24 total). Looker also leads the team with 181 kills. Also, of note, Chelsea Weisner is second in the league with 4.92 digs per set (310 total).

Bemidji State vs. Minnesota, Crookston...
Dating back to 1994, Bemidji State holds the all-time advantage against Minnesota, Crookston at 20-11 after the teams split in two meetings last year, both won by the home team. This year, UMC won a 3-0 contest and broke a string of six straight wins by the home team in the all-time series.

We Meet Again
UMC, Tuesday’s opponent, will be the first of five teams Bemidji State will play for a second time. BSU also plays U-Mary, Minot State, MSU Moorhead, and Northern State twice each.

Homestand Over
Bemidji State wrapped up a four-match homestand, its longest of 2012, with losses to No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State and Sioux Falls last weekend, extending its overall losing streak to 10 matches. BSU’s last win came on the road against Minot State, 3-0 on Sept. 14. BSU’s other losses at home came to MSU Moorhead and Northern State. The Beavers will now play three consecutive road matches.

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 4.00 (244 total) and second in points per game with 4.37  (266.5 total). Her kills per game put her at 18th in the nation and her points per set leave her at 24th. Courtney Volkmann is now first NSIC in service aces per game at 0.43 (26 total) following a three-ace match against Sioux Falls and is 10th in assists per game with 9.03 (551 total).

Thompson Killing It
After posting a 21 total kills against SMSU and USF last weekend, including a match-high 16 against Sioux Falls, senior Bethany Thompson now has 244 kills on the year. With 890 kills in her career, the senior captain is 27 shy of cracking the program’s top-ten list in that category and 110 short of 1,000.

Tough Schedule
According the Week 7 AVCA Division II volleyball rankings, there are five ranked teams on the Beavers’ 2012 schedule. This week, No. 13 Minnesota State and No. 4-ranked Concordia-St. Paul will become the seventh and eighth BSU opponents with recognition in the national rankings at the time of the match. In addition to CU and MSU upcoming, the Beavers have played No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State, No. 18 Wayne State and are still slated to face, and vote-getters Augustana and Ferris State. BSU also starts November at No. 6 Minnesota Duluth.

Out and About
Bemidji State has completed over half of its 28-game schedule for 2012 and has completed most of its travel already. Three of BSU’s 10 remaining games are at home and though seven of the team’s game are on the road, Beavers will only leave the state of Minnesota when they travel to Northern State (Aberdeen, S.D.) for a rematch of last Saturday’s match on Nov. 9.

Nonconference Play
The Beavers wrapped up nonconference 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 six of the 18 matches. Overall, the team returned eight letterwinners.