Beavers end non-conference schedule with four matches at UIndy Invite
After going 0-4 at the Yellowjacket Invitational in last week’s season-opening weekend, the Bemidji State University volleyball team travels to Indianapolis, Ind., looking to grow and make improvements by competing in the UIndy Invite hosted by University of Indianapolis, Sept. 10-11, to close out the non-conference portion of its 2021 schedule. The Beavers (0-4, 0-0 NSIC) open the two-day tournament by facing Wheeling University Friday at 2 p.m. EDT followed by Missouri University of Science and Technology at 7 p.m. EDT.
The opponents on day two will be determined by Friday’s pool play with UIndy, University of West Florida, Cedarville University, Winona State University, Ashland University and Northern Michigan University also competing at the tournament.
Getting Back into the Swing of Things
After 657 days since their last official NCAA volleyball contest, the Beavers traveled to Billings, Mont., to compete in the Yellowjacket Invitational and get back into the swing of the volleyball season. BSU competed hard but fell in all four matches. Although the scores may not reflect the desired result, the Beavers steadily improved throughout the tournament and saw growth from everyone, especially BSU’s 11 underclassmen.
Senior outside hitter Anna Averkamp led the Beavers averaging 2.17 kills per set and totaled 26 kills, while sophomores Rylie Bjerklie and Rilee Michaelson followed with 20 and 18 kills, respectively. Junior middle blocker Rylee Pompa added 14 kills in 10 sets played while freshman Ashley Crowl totaled 11 kills in just six sets played to finish second on the team with a 1.83 kills/set average. Junior Meeghen Dahlager and freshman Lauren Sitter each added 10 kills for the Beavers.
Freshman Emily Wade coordinated the Beavers’ attack and led the team with 81 assists to finish 13th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference with a 6.23 assists/set average. Wade’s best performance of the tournament came against Saint Martin’s University after totaling a career-high 33 assists. Sophomore Taylor Birr also saw action setting the ball for the Beavers and totaled 23 assists in just six sets for a 3.83 a/s average.
Leading the Beavers’ defense was sophomore libero Madison Weyker who totaled 61 digs in 13 sets and stands fourth in the NSIC with a 4.69 digs/set average. Weyker’s best performance of the tournament came against Saint Martin’s after recording a career-high 20 digs. At the net, the Beavers were led by Bjerklie who recorded nine blocks (0s-9a) for a 0.69 blocks/set average while Sitter followed with six blocks (0s-6a, 0.55 b/s).
On the serve, junior Annie Hopp, Wade and sophomore Lauren Justesen each posted a team-high three aces, while Hopp paced the team with a 0.38 service aces/set average after totaling three aces in just eight sets.
Bemidji State struggled on the attack in the tournament and ranks last in the NSIC (16th) with a .067 hitting percentage after totaling 125 kills (15th) with 95 attacking errors (4th) in 446 total attacks (11th). BSU also allowed opponents to hit a .241 efficiency to rank 14th in the league and allowed 13.62 kills per set for the highest average in the NSIC.
The Beavers’ favored better in the rankings on defense with a 13.92 digs/set average to rank eighth in the league and 14th with a 1.15 blocks/set average.