VIRGINIA, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University tennis team continued Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play this weekend dropping matches to Minnesota State University Moorhead and University of Mary.
The Beavers opened the frigid weekend of neutral-site play in Northern Minnesota falling to MSU Moorhead, 5-2, Saturday. BSU posted a strong open to the match getting wins from its top two doubles pairs to earn the point in doubles play and take a 1-0 lead. At No. 1 doubles., Sophie Groen and Shay Johnson combined for a 6-2 win over the Dragon's top tandem, while Claudia Billand and Laney Rutkowski earned a 6-4 victory in the No. 2 doubles slot to tip doubles play in BSU's favor before Hannah Peterson and Isabella Nelson were edged in the third doubles match 6-4.
Stirred by the loss in doubles action, the Dragons battled back to earn wins in five-of-six singles contests. BSU's lone singles win came in the No. 3 slot where Billand bounced back from a 6-4 loss in the first set to take the second set 6-2 and won the tie-breaker 6-2.
While it was not part of the team scoring, sophomore newcomer Taylor Offerdahl recorded an 8-5 win over MSUM's Madison Bell in exhibition play.
Sunday, the Beavers were back at it this time going head-to-head with UMary. The doubles pair of Groen and Johnson again got BSU off to the right start edging the Marauders’ top doubles team 7-5. But UMary rebounded with 6-1 and 6-0 wins in the second and third doubles matches, respectively, to claim the doubles point.
Down 1-0 entering the singles portion of the competition, BSU rallied. Groen won the No. 1 singles match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Johnson put BSU in the lead, 2-1, with a win at No. 2 in a tie-breaker (6-3, 3-6, 7-6 [7-1]), and in the No. 4 singles position, Rutkowski logged a 6-3, 6-1 victory. But with wins at No. 3, 5 and 6, the Marauders got just enough to hand BSU a 4-3 loss.
Again, BSU also fared well in exhibition play. The pair of Offerdahl and Nelson netted an 8-2 win in an extra doubles match.
The Beavers, now 1-2 overall and 1-2 in NSIC play, will travel to Grand Forks, N.D. Saturday to face Minnesota State University Mankato and Southwest Minnesota State University. The Beavers open the day with a 10:30 a.m. contests versus the Mavericks before facing the Mustangs at 1 p.m.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University 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).