BEMIDJI, Minn. – With just eight matches remaining on the 2016 schedule the Bemidji State University volleyball team has just two road series left. One of those series will be this weekend when the Beavers (7-14, 3-9 NSIC) travel to Marshall, Minn., and Sioux Falls, S.D., to face the No. 2 Mustangs and Cougars. Bemidji State will first take on No. 2 Southwest Minnesota State University, Friday at 7 p.m. and then face University of Sioux Falls, Saturday at 4 p.m.
Mustangs: Southwest Minnesota State holds the all-time series record with a record of 60-31 in a series that began in 1977. The Mustangs are currently on their longest winning streak of the series with a 22-match winning streak against the Beavers. The Beavers fell to the Mustangs in three sets in their last meeting last season on Oct. 17.
Cougars: Bemidji State and Sioux Falls met earlier this season at the Sioux Falls Invitational, Sept. 9. The Cougars defeated Bemidji State in three sets in non-conference action. Bemidji State and Sioux Falls have met just seven times in program history with USF holding the all-time series record 6-1.
Bemidji State: The Beavers hope to move up in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference standings and are currently tied for 11th. Bemidji State had an opportunity to get within two games of a playoff position but lost 3-1 at University of Minnesota Crookston, Tuesday.
The Beavers are ninth in the NSIC in hitting percentage (.205) but are just 14th in the league in kills per sets (11.46).
Bemidji State is led by a pair of seniors in Jessica Yost and Amanda Tronick. Yost leads the team with 3.91 kills per set and jumped up to fourth in the league after averaging 5.38 this past weekend. Tronick follows by averaging 3.38 kills and is 10th in the NSIC. Freshman Shelby Haney leads the team in assists with 6.46 per set and is also seventh in the league with 0.42 aces per set. Sophomore Heather Fletcher leads the Beavers’ defense by averaging 0.93 blocks per set, ninth-best in the conference.
SMSU: The Mustangs enter the weekend ranked No. 2 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll and currently on an 11-match winning streak. SMSU is second in the NSIC standings is on a 22-match winning streak against the Beavers.
SMSU is led by Taylor Reiss who averages a league-best 5.03 kills per set. Sarah Parker leads the Mustangs in hitting efficiency (.384), eighth in the NSIC and Megan Larson leads the team and conference with 12.74 assists per set.
Sioux Falls: The Cougars head into the weekend eighth in the NSIC standings with a 6-6 conference record. USF has lost two matches in-a-row after falling to Concordia University-St. Paul and Southwest Minnesota State.
Sioux Falls is led by Makenna Rockeman who averages 3.96 kills per set, third-best in the NSIC. Lexi Scott leads the team with a .342 hitting percentage and Sydney Schaap coordinates the Cougars’ attack and averages 9.54 assists per set.
Yost chasing kills record
After reaching 1,000 career kills earlier this season, Bemidji State senior Jessica Yost continues to implement herself in the Bemidji State volleyball record books. Yost has amassed 1,272 kills in her four-year career and needs just 28 more to tie Peggy Hammel-Moran for the all-time record. Currently she is third on the list and is just eight shy from moving up to second.
Fellow senior Amanda Tronick also makes the list and after joining the 1,000 kill club earlier this week, she stands 10th all-time with 1,021 career kills.
Beavers drop tight contest at Minnesota Crookston
Bemidji State lost a tight battle on the road at University of Minnesota, Crookston, Tuesday night. The Beavers (7-14, 3-9 NSIC) fell to the Golden Eagles (9-11, 5-7 NSIC) 3-1 (27-25, 26-28, 19-25, 23-25) in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action.
Jessica Yost and Amanda Tronick each recorded double-doubles during the match with each one leading the team with 14 kills. Tronick led the Beavers with 20 digs for her eighth double-double of the season while Yost followed with 18 for her 12th.
Freshman Julie Touchett had her best offensive game since returning from injury and had 11 kills during the match and led the Beavers’ defense with five blocks. Sophomores Jessica Reega and Heather Fletcher added eight and seven kills, respectively, and Reega led the Beavers with a .412 hitting percentage.
Freshman Emma Hallman helped the Beavers’ defense and totaled 17 digs and Shelby Haney coordinated the Beavers’ attack and tallied 46 assists.
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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).