BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University volleyball team wraps-up its home season this weekend by hosting a pair of nationally ranked opponents in No. 16 Winona State University and No. 22 Upper Iowa University. The Beavers (7-17, 4-12 NSIC) play host to the Warriors (18-6, 10-6 NSIC) and Peacocks (17-7, 9-7 NSIC) in a weekend that will honor Bemidji State volleyball parents and their four seniors Kelli Auer, Emma Hallmann, Julie Touchett and Becky Schroeder. Bemidji State begins the weekend with Parent’s Night versus Winona State Friday, Nov. 8 at 6 p.m., followed by Senior Day against Upper Iowa Saturday at 1 p.m.
Winona State: Friday’s clash with the Warriors will be the 98th meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 1970. Winona State owns the all-time series record at 53-44 and has won 18 consecutive matches against the Beavers including earlier this season on Sept. 27 with a 3-1 victory in Winona. Freshman Samiya Jami led the Beavers with a career-high 12 kills in the match and also hit .333. Bemidji State head coach Kevin Ulmer is 0-5 coaching against the Warriors in his career.
Upper Iowa: Saturday’s meeting between the Peacocks and Beavers will be just the 25th of the all-time series that dates back to 2004. The Beavers hold a slight 13-11 advantage of the Peacocks but have lost five consecutive matches against Upper Iowa including earlier this season on Sept. 28, 3-0. Senior Julie Touchett led the Beavers with eight kills in the match as BSU struggled on offense and hit just .070 as a team. Bemidji State head coach Kevin Ulmer is 0-5 coaching against the Peacocks in his career.
Winona State: Winona State enters the weekend tied for sixth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference standings with a 10-6 league record and are ranked No. 16 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll with an 18-6 record overall. The Warriors are coming off a 3-1 loss to No. 6 Concordia University-St. Paul on Tuesday.
The Warriors own the sixth-best offense in the NSIC by averaging 13.85 kills per set and hit at a .266 efficiency to rank second. Their defense holds opponents to just 11.66 kills per set which is fifth in the conference while limiting opponents to just a .182 hitting efficiency which is seventh.
Winona State is led on offense by Megan Flom who averages 3.87 kills per set which is the ninth best average in the NSIC. She is hitting at a .398 efficiency to lead the team and is second in the conference. Paige Christopher follows Flom by averaging 2.72 kills per set while Madison Larson follows closely at 2.67 kills per set. The Warriors attack is coordinated by Bre Maloney who averages 10.72 assists per set which is fifth in the NSIC.
On defense, Winona State is led by Becca Pagel who averages 4.49 digs per set while Madison Rizner leads the team at the net with 56 blocks (12s-44a) and Flom follows with 49 (9s-40a).
Upper Iowa: The Peacocks enter the weekend’s action eighth in the NSIC standings with a 9-7 league record and are ranked No. 22 in the latest AVCA poll with a 17-7 record overall. Upper Iowa is coming off a 3-0 win over Minnesota State University, Mankato Monday in Mankato, Minn.
Upper Iowa ranks seventh in the conference by averaging 13.61 kills per set but are fourth in the league by hitting at a .260 efficiency. Its defense is eighth in the league by holding opponents to 11.77 kills per set and opponents are hitting at just a .168 efficiency to stand fifth.
The Peacocks are led on offense by one of the best hitters in the conference in Anna Winter. Winter paces the team and is second in the NSIC by averaging 4.34 kills per set. She is also hitting at a .300 efficiency for third on the team behind Sarah Johnson who leads the team with a .323 hitting percentage. Kaitlin Niedert follows Winter by averaging 2.89 kills per set while Maggie Streightiff follows with a 2.38 average. UIU’s attack is coordinated by Carlee Ketchum who is fourth in the conference with a 10.80 assists per set average.
On defense, Upper Iowa is led by Haley Weepie who averages 4.78 digs per set to rank fourth in the conference while Johnson leads the team with 77 blocks (5s-72a) and is eighth in the NSIC with that mark.
Bemidji State: Bemidji State returns home for its final two home matches of the season after traveling to No. 5 University of Minnesota Duluth and fell to the Bulldogs in four sets. The Beavers earned their first set victory over UMD since 2010 in the match and senior Emma Hallmann moved into second on BSU’s career digs list. BSU is tied for 12th in the NSIC standings with a 4-12 league record and are 7-17 overall.
Bemidji State is 13th in the conference by hitting at a .171 efficiency and are 12th by averaging 11.31 kills per set. The Beavers’ defense is 13th in the league by allowing opponents 13.53 kills per set while opponents are hitting .2336 against BSU to also rank 13th.
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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).