BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University volleyball team returns home this weekend and it will have a pair of two ranked opponents. Firstly, the Augustana College Vikings come into the weekend with a 17-5 overall record and 9-5 mark in conference action. On Saturday, the Beavers will host No. 18 Wayne State. The Wildcats have a 17-7 overall record with an 8-6 mark in conference play.
Recapping last week:
• The Bemidji State University volleyball team is coming into this weekend with a 5-17 record overall and a 1-13 mark in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. This past week, the Beavers dropped a pair of matches to No. 6 Southwest Minnesota State and the University of Sioux Falls by identical 3-0 scores.
• Against SMSU, BSU was led by Chelsea Frison (MB, 6-1, So., Whitewater, Wis.), who had eight kills in 12 attack attempts to hit .417. Kelsi Crawford (OH, 5-9, Jr., Wadena, Minn.) had three kills in four attempts and Courtney Fox (DS, 5-8, So., Hutchinson, Minn.) led the team with nine digs, each coming off the bench for BSU. It was the second time this season that Fox led the team in that category with the first coming last Saturday against Minot State University. Jessica Yost (OH, 6-3, Fr., Bemidji, Minn.) led the team with 12 kills. With Yost leading the team in kills, that marks the 18th time in 21 matches that a freshman has led or was tied for the team lead in kills.
• Against USF, The Beavers did not have many things go for them in the match but one bright spot was the play of Tronick. She tied for the team lead in kills with seven and hit .462. USF out hit BSU .465 to .053. That differential was due, in large part, to the Cougars’ blocking. USF had a total of eight team blocks while the Beavers had just two.
Trends for the Beavers:
• Youth Movement: Offensively, the Beavers have been led by some of the youngest players on the roster. In 19 of Bemidji State’s 22 contests this season, a freshman has led or was tied for the lead in kills in the match. Jessica Yost has led the team 16 times while fellow freshman Amanda Tronick has led the squad three times.
• Lull in the Middle: The Beavers do their best at the beginning and at the end of matches. The win percentages for the Beavers by set are as follows: first .409, second .227, third .181, fourth .400 and fifth sets .500.
Records/Accomplishments for BSU
• Courtney Volkmann continues to move up Bemidji State’s all-time assist list. With 51 assists within last week’s action, Volkmann has 1,615 career assists. The BSU setter needs only 191 assists to tie her former teammate Jessi-Beth McCannell for ninth all-time in that category. This season Volkmann has 699 assists so with one more assist, the junior setter will have her second straight 700 assist season.
• Yost continues to be one of the main offensive players for the Beavers in her freshman season. She currently leads BSU in kills with 270. Yost is trying to become the first freshman to lead Bemidji State in kills since Nicole Olson did so in 2007 with 294.
Scouting the Opponents
Augustana (17-5 overall, 9-5 NSIC): The Vikings have had a stellar season under sixth year head coach Ashley Buckley. All but one of Augustana’s losses have come against teams that were ranked at the time. Augie has clinched its fourth straight winning season, but it is trying to get to back into the NCAA tournament as its last appearance came in 2008.
Augustana is led by middle blocker Holly Hafemeyer. She was named to the All-NSIC first team for the second consecutive year. This season she leads the team in kills and blocks with totals of 317 and 88, respectively. Another top player for the Vikings has been Marissa Johnson. She is currently third in the NSIC in assists per set with 12.62.
In the all-time series between Bemidji State and Augustana, the Vikings have won 16 of the 19 meetings. One of the 16 victories came last season as the Vikings swept BSU in Bemidji. The Beavers’ last win came in a five-set thriller at home.
Wayne State (17-7 overall, 8-6 NSIC): Wayne State comes into the match ranked 18th in the nation. It is no surprise as the Wildcats have made eight straight NCAA tournament appearances. The highlight of Wayne State’s season so far was its victory over the current No. 1 team in the country Concordia-St. Paul. The loss is the only one the Golden Bears have surrendered this season.
Individually, the Wildcats are led by Leisa McLintock who is sixth in the conference in assists per game with 10.62. Wayne State also has one of the top servers on its squad in Katie Hughes. Hughes currently sits third in the NSIC averaging 0.37 service aces per game.
Bemidji State has had a rough time with the Wildcats over the years as Wayne State has won 24 of the 26 meetings including a 3-0 victory last season in Bemidji.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).