BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State volleyball team hits the road for one match at No. 5 University of Minnesota Duluth before its final home weekend of the season. The Beavers (7-16, 4-11 NSIC) travel to Duluth, Minn., to face the fifth-ranked Bulldogs (20-3, 13-2 NSIC) Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m.
Minnesota Duluth: Tuesday’s clash between the Bulldogs and Beavers 111th meeting in the all-time series dating back to 1972. UMD dominates the all-time series with a 99-10-1 record and have won 32 consecutive matches against BSU dating back to 1998. Bemidji State and Minnesota Duluth met earlier this season in Bemidji where the Bulldogs earned a 3-0 (17-25, 24-26, 24-26) victory. Senior Julie Touchett set the conference’s single-match blocks record after recording 14 (8s-6a) against the then-ranked No. 7 Bulldogs. Head coach Kevin Ulmer is 0-4 all-time coaching against the Bulldogs.
Minnesota Duluth: Minnesota Duluth enters Tuesday’s action as the top team in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference standings with a 13-2 league record and are ranked No. 5 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll with a 20-3 overall record. However, UMD is coming off a weekend where it fell to No. 11 St. Cloud State University in four games but bounced back with a 3-0 win over University of Minnesota Crookston.
Minnesota Duluth is the conference’s best attacking team by averaging 15.22 kills per set which is also the nation’s best mark and hit at a .264 efficiency as a team to rank third. The Bulldogs’ defense is also top in the NSIC by holding opponents to just 10.42 kills per set while opponents are hitting just .163 as a team to rank third.
Minnesota Duluth is paced on offense by Kate Berg who is third in the NSIC by averaging 4.27 kills per set which is also the ninth best average in Division II. She is hitting at a .245 clip which is fourth on the team while Lexy Langenfeld leads the team by hitting at a .368 efficiency. The Bulldogs’ attack is coordinated by one of the best setters in the nation in Emily Balts. She averages 12.36 assists per set which is the top mark in the NSIC and second in the nation.
Keena Seiffert leads the Bulldogs’ defense and averages 5.23 digs per set which is third in the conference while Berg follows with a 3.08 digs per set average. At the net, Abby Thor paces the team with 69 blocks (12s-57a) while Langenfeld follows with 35 (5s-30a).
Bemidji State: The Beavers host the Bulldogs after traveling to face University of Minnesota Crookston on Halloween and returned home to host No. 11 St. Cloud State University. The Beavers earned a 3-1 victory over the Golden Eagles but fell in three sets to the Huskies. Bemidji State is 12th in the NSIC standings with a 4-11 league record and are 7-16 on the season for their most wins since 2016.
Bemidji State is 13th in the conference by hitting at a .171 efficiency and are 12th by averaging 11.39 kills per set. The Beavers’ defense is 13th in the league by allowing opponents 13.38 kills per set while opponents are hitting .233 against BSU to rank 12th.
The Beavers are led on offense by junior Becky Schroeder who averages 2.81 kills per set and hits at a .213 efficiency for second on the team. She is followed by senior Julie Touchett who averages 2.54 kills per set and leads the team by hitting at a .290 efficiency after hitting a career-high .458 at Minnesota Crookston last week. Sophomore Haley Stolt follows closely by averaging 2.51 kills per set and paces the team with 799 attacks. BSU’s attack is coordinated by redshirt freshman Maddie Mackinac who averages 9.64 assists per set which ranks ninth in the NSIC and her 819 assists on the season is the most for a BSU setter since Courtney Volkmann totaled 879 in 2013. Mackinac will try to become just the 12th setter in BSU history to reach 1,000 assists in a single season and the first since Courtney Bitter in 2009.
On defense, the Beavers are led by senior Emma Hallmann who is 12th in the conference by averaging 4.15 digs per set but is ninth with 353 total digs. Hallmann is moving up the career digs list at BSU currently stands fourth with 1,379 career digs. She needs just seven digs to move into second on the list behind Brie Groskreutz who reached 1,890 digs in her career. At the net, Touchett paces the team with 65 blocks (22s-43a) and is tied for 13th in the league while junior Randi Johnson follows with 54 blocks (18s-36a).
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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).