BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University volleyball program begins a new era under first-year head coach Kevin Ulmer Friday, Sept. 2 and Saturday, Sept. 3. Ulmer and the Beavers travel to Seward, Neb., to participate in the Bulldog Bash Tournament hosted by Concordia University, Nebraska.
Ulmer will look to improve on a 2015 season that saw the Beavers finish 14th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference standings with a 7-22 (5-15 NSIC) record. Bemidji State returns 10 letterwinners from last season and added five newcomers during the offseason.
In their first season under Ulmer, a young, but experienced group of players return to the roster for 2016. Ten players, led by 2016 NSIC “Player to Watch” Jessica Yost (Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji HS), have at least one season of collegiate volleyball under their belt, with seven players gaining significant court time in 2015. Yost played in all 29 matches for the Beavers last season and totaled a team-best 334 kills (3.27 k/s), while leading the team with 29 service aces (0.28 a/s), finishing second on the team with 265 digs (2.60 d/s) and ranking third with 42 blocks (0.41 b/s). Yost has led the team in kills for three straight seasons and is just the second player in program history to lead the team for three or more years (Nicole Olson, 2007-10). Also returning to the team for her senior season is outside hitter Amanda Tronick (Hutchinson, Minn./Hutchinson HS). Tronick finished second on the team with 284 kills but was a key contibutor on defense and finished third with 212 digs.
New to the team are true freshmen Kelli Auer (Maple Grove, Minn./Osseo HS), Shelby Haney (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge HS), Emma Hallman (Muskego, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran HS), Julie Touchett (Milwaukee, Wis./Verona Area HS) and junior transfer Ashley Abear (Pequot Lakes, Minn./Central Lakes College).
Concordia (Neb.): The Bulldogs return from a 2015 season where they went 26-9 (12-4 GPAC) and finished second in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) tournament. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) member made an appearance at the NAIA National Tournament but were eliminated in the first round.
Concordia (Neb.) returns two NAIA All-American honorable mentions in Jocelyn Garcia and Alayna Kavanaugh as well as seven 2015 GPAC All-Conference members.
The Bulldogs got an early start to the 2016 season and are 1-6 since opening the season on August 20.
The meeting against the Bulldogs will be the first-ever for the Beavers.
York: The Panthers return five uperclassmen from 2015 after finishing the year 18-21. The Panthers are led by seniors Kayliana Cox, Delaney Woods, Halie Ewing, Alyssa Didier and Kylie Wroot.
York College opened the 2016 season on August 26 and are 1-3 in the team’s first four games.
Bethany: The Bethany Swedes begin the 2016 season after a 9-22 (5-15 KCAC) finish in 2015. The Swedes opened the season on August 26 and in the team’s first four games are 0-4.
Bethany returns Preseason All-Conference selection Kim Stringer as well as seniors, Eileen Vlamis and Nikita Nelson, and juniors Carli Vahsholtz and Chanelle McCormick.
Lindenwood-Belleville: The Lady Lynx look to rebound from a 2015 season that saw the team go 8-23 (7-6 AMC). The team returns All-Conference second team member Stephanie Cathcart as well as Chelsea Crocker, Victoria Johnson, Kendall Linder, Kourtney Knox, Allie Holmes and Jenna Harcharik.
The Lady Lynx opened 2016 on August 26 and are currently 3-0 to begin the season.
BSU tabbed to finish 16th in NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Senior outside hitter Jessica Yost has been tabbed Bemidji State University volleyball’s “Player to Watch” as the NSIC released its 2016 Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Beavers were selected to finish 16th and will begin the season under first-year head coach Kevin Ulmer.
The Beavers return as the league’s third most efficient team in service aces with 1.35 per game. Yost ranked seventh in the NSIC in total service aces with 29 and 10th in kills per game with 3.27. The Bemidji native is one of four returning Beavers to land on the 2015 Academic All-NSIC Team, including Laurel Denney (Coon Rapids, Minn./Coon Rapids HS), Angela Gareri (Grand Rapids, Minn./Grand Rapids HS) and Jordyn Koehn (Mukwanago, Wis./Mukwanago HS).
Defending regular season and NSIC Tournament champion Concordia University-St. Paul was picked to finish first in the preseason poll with 219 points and 13 first-place votes. NCAA Tournament participant Southwest Minnesota State University received 194 points and one first-place vote to land second on the poll, while the only other team to receive first-place votes was Wayne State College, which made a NCAA Final Four appearance in 2015, with two. Bemidji State finished with 25 points to rank 16th in the NSIC. The conference finished with six teams in the final AVCA Top 25 Poll of 2015.
1,000 Career Kills Watch
Yost will look to become just the ninth player in Bemidji State volleyball program history to reach the 1,000 career kills milestone this weekend. The Bemidji, Minn., native sits at 975 career kills and needs to average 6.25 kills in four matches this weekend. Yost currently ranks 10th on BSU’s career kills list and needs 326 to surpass Peggy Hammel-Moran as the all-time leader. Yost tallied a career high 341 in 2013 and had 334 in 2015.
Fellow senior Amanda Tronick is near the 1,000 kill club and has tallied 764 career kills. She needs just 236 to reach the milestone. Tronick set a career high 284 kills last season.
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).