BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University volleyball team returns home after a three-game road trip to host Minnesota State University Moorhead and No. 9 Northern State University Friday and Saturday. The Beavers (4-10, 2-3 NSIC) will host the Dragons (10-3, 3-2 NSIC) and Wolves (13-0, 5-0 NSIC) as part of homecoming weekend at Bemidji State.
Last week, the Beavers improved their record to 4-10 (2-3 NSIC) after going 2-1. BSU rallied back from down 0-2 against the University of Minnesota Crookston and Minot State University to win each match 3-2. The Beavers’ week was capped by a 3-0 loss at the University of Mary.
Bemidji State has seen tremendous play from junior outside hitters Amanda Tronick and Jessica Yost. In the past three matches, Tronick leads BSU with 43 kills followed closely by Yost with 42. The duo has combined to hit .138 and have produced 92.5 points in 13 sets. Tronick leads the Beavers this season with 158 kills (2.98k/s) followed by Yost with 145 (2.74k/s). Coordinating Bemidji State’s attack is setter Ashley Kiecker. Kiecker leads BSU with 300 assists this season, including a career-high 48 assists at Minnesota Crookston, Sept. 22. The Hector Minn. native followed her career-best performance with 47 assists the next match, at Minot State, Sept. 25.
The Beavers are led defensively by senior Kayla DeJong who has 217 digs (4.09d/s). DeJong recently moved on to BSU’s top 10 all-time career digs list and is nine digs away from moving into eighth place. DeJong also ranks 13th in the NSIC with 4.09 digs per set. BSU is also led defensively by Kori Leist who has totaled 33 blocks (10s-23a) on the season. She is followed closely by Hailey Kauling who has 31 (3s-28a).
BSU saw multiple student-athletes set career-highs during the week, after Kiecker set a career-high in assists, Tronick tallied 22 kills in the same match for her new career-best. Yost also tallied a season-high 22 kills at Minnesota Crookston.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
The MSU-Moorhead Dragons enter play this weekend standing in sixth in the NSIC with a conference record of 3-2 and 10-3 record overall. The Dragons excel on the defensive side of the net ranking first in the conference in blocks per set (2.92) and third nationally. Kelsey Hartkopf ranks first in the conference at 1.52 b/s. That mark also ranks Hartkopf third nationally. The Dragons’ Kaitlin VanWinkle is also among the league’s best, averaging 1.13 blocks per set to sit fifth.
VanWinkle also leads the Dragons’ attack with 174 kills (3.63k/s) this season. She is also among the conference’s best attackers and ranks third in the conference in total kills and eighth in hitting percentage (.374). Carly Masloski is second on the team with 148 kills and ranks 15th in the conference with 3.08 kills per set.
The all-time series
The all-time series between Bemidji State and MSU-Moorhead dates back to 1969 and includes 127 matches. The last meeting between the Beavers and the Dragons was October 17, 2014 and BSU defeated MSU-Moorhead, 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-23).
(9) Northern State
No. 9 Northern State University enters the weekend as one of three teams in the nation to remain undefeated. The Wolves currently lead the NSIC with a perfect 5-0 record in conference play and are 13-0 overall. The Beavers will have to deal with one of the nation’s best offenses, as NSU leads the nation in three statistical categories. The Wolves top the nation in assists per set (14.63), hitting percentage (.379), and kills per set (15.44).
Northern State has three elite attackers this season in Kellie Schmitt, Cari McGarvie, and Kelsey Chambers. The three rank one, two, and three in the NSIC in hitting percentage, respectively. The Wolves also have the nations top setter in Drew Smith. who averages 13.32 (546) assists per set.
The all-time series
The all-time series between Bemidji State and Northern State dates back to 1985 and includes 65 matches. The last meeting between the Beavers and the Wolves was October 18, 2014 and BSU lost in four sets at home (25-18, 20-25, 20-25, 16-25).
A look at the NSIC
Following the latest release of the AVCA national rankings, the NSIC remains one of the top volleyball conferences in the nation. Out of the 25 teams ranked in the poll, the NSIC boasts three teams in the top five in the University of Minnesota Duluth (1), Concordia-St. Paul University (3) and Southwest Minnesota State University (5). Also making the list is Northern State (9), Wayne State College (Neb.) (11), Augustana University (19), and Winona State University (25).
For more information on the Bemidji State volleyball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers and Volleyball Facebook) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooden region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, BSU 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).