BEMIDJI, Minn. – It has been 657 days and nearly 94 weeks since the Bemidji State University volleyball team’s last official NCAA competition but the Beavers will finally get back onto the court as part of the Yellowjacket Invitational this Labor Day weekend. Bemidji State will travel 738 miles to Billings, Montana to compete in the six-team, two-day tournament hosted by Montana State University-Billings beginning Friday, Sept. 3 and ending Saturday evening.
The Beavers open the tournament Friday morning by facing South Dakota School of Mines at 11 a.m. MDT/12 p.m. CDT and will then take on host school Montana State-Billings that night at 7 p.m. MDT. BSU then concludes the tournament Saturday by facing Black Hills State University at 12 p.m. MDT followed by Saint Martin’s University at 4 p.m. MDT.
Live Streams for all matches can be found at: https://www.bsubeavers.com/volleyball/schedule/2021/ while live stats for all matches can be followed at: https://msubsports.com/sidearmstats/wvball/summary.
New Look Beavers
Fans may not recognize most of the student-athletes on the 2021 Bemidji State squad as they return just seven letter-winners from a 2019 team that went 7-21. The Beavers have 12 players who are still waiting to play in their first collegiate match including eight sophomores and four freshmen. Of their returning letter-winners from the 2019 season, just three (Anna Averkamp, Maddie Mackinac and Taylor Kot) appeared in at least 17 of the teams 28 matches that season while Annie Hopp, Rylee Pompa and Meeghen Dahlager appeared in five or fewer matches.
Senior Anna Averkamp returns for her fifth season at BSU and leads all Beavers with 516 career kills in 74 career matches. Looking to make their first impact on the Beavers’ attack will be outside hitters Meeghen Dahlager (Jr.), Ashley East (RS-So.), Hallie Mertz (So.), Maddi Siedenburg (So.) and freshmen Micalyn Trihus and Ashley Crowl.
Junior Rylee Pompa leads the Beavers’ middles this season and is joined by sophomores Rylie Bjerklie and Rilee Michaelson as well as freshman Lauren Sitter.
Coordinating the Beavers’ attack will be redshirt junior Maddie Mackinac who has over 1,000 assists in 36 career matches for the Beavers but will be sidelined for first half of the season due to injury. Bemidji State will turn to sophomore Taylor Birr and freshman Emily Wade to fill in for Mackinac.
Bemidji State’s back row will be led by senior Taylor Kot with 138 career digs in 18 career matches while junior Annie Hopp will join her having appeared in five career matches. Sophomores Madison Weyker and Lauren Justesen will compete for their first playing time on the Beavers’ defense.
Fans will also see a new face on the Beavers’ bench after Steph Remley joins the Bemidji State Volleyball coaching staff as an assistant coach. Remley joins the Beavers after serving as an assistant coach at St. Cloud State University for nearly two seasons.
Bemidji State opens the tournament by facing South Dakota Mines early Friday morning. The Hardrockers were selected to finish seventh of 15 teams in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll after coming off a 5-9 season in the spring of 2021 and went 11-16 in 2019. The Hardrockers are taking experience into the season to help the program move to the next step and be an above .500 team for this upcoming season. The SD Mines volleyball team returns 17 student-athletes who were on the roster last season including all five team-leaders in kills as well as digs, assists and blocks to go along with a solid incoming group of four freshmen.
The Beavers will then face the Yellowjackets from tournament host Montana State-Billings later Friday evening. The Yellowjackets were picked to finish eighth of 10 teams in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll despite a 5-1 record in the spring of 2021. Senior Bayli Monck is the Yellowjackets’ top returner and was named the GNAC’s Preseason All-Conference Team after earning First Team All-GNAC honors in 2019.
BSU opens day two of the tournament against Black Hills State who was picked to finish 10th in the RMAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Yellow Jackets went 5-9 in an irregular 2020 season and heads into the 2021 season returning 14 student-athletes and welcoming two newcomers.
The Beavers close out the tournament by facing Saint Martin’s at 4 p.m. Saturday evening. The Saints were voted to finish ninth in the GNAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and will be under new leadership with head coach Dan Behnke for the upcoming season. The 2021 Saints team features 15 underclassmen but will be led by senior Emily Gooding and junior Kylie Alos.
SD Mines: Bemidji State has faced the Hardrockers a total of five times in the two school’s histories with SD Mines holding a 3-2 advantage. BSU and SD Mines last played on Sept. 13, 2019 where the Beavers were swept in three sets. The all-time series dates back to 2011 and head coach Kevin Ulmer is 2-1 against the Hardrockers in his six-year coaching career.
MSUB: The Beavers and Yellowjackets have faced off in two matches in the program histories with MSUB winning both matches. The two teams first played in 2002 while their latest matchup occurred in 2017 with Montana State-Billings earning a three-set win.
BHSU: BSU and Black Hills State have faced off in four matches during the two schools’ histories and the Beavers hold a 3-1 record over the Yellow Jackets in a series that dates back to 1986. However, the two teams haven’t battle against one another since 2011 where the Beavers earned a five-set victory.
SMU: Saturday’s matchup against Saint Martin’s will be the first time the two schools have met on the volleyball court.
For more information on the Bemidji State volleyball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeaversVB), 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).