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Beaver Fever Friday – Volleyball – Haley Stolt

Beavers complete homestand by hosting Cougars and Mustangs

The Bemidji State University volleyball team completes its four-match homestand by hosting University of Sioux Falls and No. 12 Southwest Minnesota State University, Sept. 28-29. The Beavers (5-10, 2-5 NSIC) begin the weekend by facing off with the Cougars (9-6, 4-3 NSIC) Friday at 6 p.m., followed by the Mustangs (10-5, 5-2 NSIC) Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Series
Sioux Falls: Friday’s meeting between the Cougars and Beavers will be just the ninth of the all-time series dating back to 2011. USF holds the all-time series record at 7-1 and are on a seven-match winning streak against the Beavers. Bemidji State and Sioux Falls last met a year ago. The Beavers fell to the Cougars 3-0 on the road in Sioux Falls, S.D. Third-year head coach Kevin Ulmer is 0-4 against USF while eight-year head coach Joel McCartney is 7-1 against BSU.

SMSU: Saturday’s clash with the Mustangs will be the 93rd meeting between the two programs with SMSU holding a 61-31 edge over the Beavers in the all-time series. SMSU has been dominant as of late and have won 25 consecutive matches against BSU. In their last meeting, SMSU earned a 3-0 sweep over the Beavers in Marshall, Minn. Bemidji State head coach Kevin Ulmer is 0-3 against SMSU while 15-year head coach Terry Culhane is 25-1 against BSU.

The Teams
Sioux Falls: The Cougars enter the weekend’s action tied for seventh in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference standings with a 4-3 league record and are 9-6 overall. Sioux Falls spent last weekend on the road and fell to No. 2 Concordia University-St. Paul, 3-0, but responded with a 3-1 win over Minnesota State University, Mankato.

The Cougars have four dominant hitters on offense but are led by Bria Barfnecht who averages 3.19 kills per set and leads the team with 182 kills on the season. Lexi Scott and Avery Yaksich follow Barfnecht and each average 2.70 kills per set with each totaling 154 and 151 kills, respectively. Makenna Rockeman is the Cougars’ other hitter and averages 2.53 kills per set after totaling 144 kills on the season. Scott leads the team and is fourth in the conference by hitting at a .386 efficiency. Their attack is coordinated by Krista Goerger who is eighth in the NSIC by averaging 10.00 assists per set.

On defense, the Cougars are led by Kasandra Spring who averages 3.15 digs per set (173) while Bria Barfnecht (129), Krista Goerger (117), Averey Yaksich (115) and Anna Peterson (114) all have totaled over 100 digs. At the net, USF is led by Lexi Scott who has totaled 59 blocks (8s-51a) while Abby Feyereisen follows with 54 (10s-44a).

SMSU: Southwest Minnesota State enters the weekend with a 10-5 overall record and are tied for fourth in the league standings. SMSU is ranked 12th in the latest American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll. The Mustangs are coming off a weekend where they defeated Minnesota State, 3-1, but fell to Concordia-St. Paul in a thrilling five-set match.

The Mustang’s offense is funneled through the reigning American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year in Taylor Reiss. Reiss leads the team and the conference with 316 kills so far this season and is one of two players in Division II to average over five kills per set (5.45). She is followed by Angela Young (2.60 k/s) and Meg Schmidt (2.38 k/s) in players to average more than two kills per set. SMSU’s attack is coordinated by setter Emma Thomssen who is third in the NSIC by averaging 12.07 assists per set.

On defense, SMSU is led by Kaylee Burmeister who averages 3.77 digs per set (211) while Reiss follows with 189 digs (3.38 d/s). At the net, the Mustangs are led by Sarina Smith who has totaled 35 blocks (5s-30a) while Meg Schmidt closely follows with 34 (9s-25a).

Bemidji State: The Beavers enter the weekend tied for 12th in the NSIC with a 2-5 league record and 5-10 overall. Bemidji State hosted University of Mary and Minot State University last weekend where they defeated the Marauders, 3-1, but fell to the Beavers, 3-1.

The Beavers are led on offense by sophomore Anna Averkamp who has totaled 141 kills (2.66 k/s) on 357 attacks while also hitting at a .213 clip. She is followed by junior Julie Touchett with 103 kills (1.78 k/s) on .289 hitting while freshman Greta Paszek and senior Maddie Filipiak follow with 98 and 92 kills, respectivley. Bemidji State’s attack is coordinated by freshman Mary Campbell who has stepped in to fill setting position after Maddie Mackinac went down with injury. Since taking over the setting duties, Campbell has come on to average 7.85 assists per set and is second on the team with 231 assists.

On the defensive side, BSU is led by junior Emma Hallmann and sophomore Becka Cronin. Hallmann paces the Beavers with 201 digs (3.47 d/s) while Cronin follows with 113 digs (1.98 d/s). At the net, the Beavers are led by Maddie Filipiak who has totaled 43 blocks (6s-37a) while Julie Touchett follows with 35 blocks (12s-23a).

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