Bemidji State Volleyball set to open NSIC play at MSU Moorhead and Northern State this week
Beavers will play their ninth and 10th matches away from home to start the season
With eight non-conference games in the books, the Bemidji State University Volleyball team will now set their sights on opening the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference portion of the schedule this Friday at MSU Moorhead starting at 6 p.m. and then at Northern State on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m.
Bemidji State (3-5) is coming off a 1-3 trip to Colorado, but were close in several of the matches. BSU went at least four sets in each match, taking host Colorado-Colorado Springs to five sets. The Beavers then closed the tournament with a five-set win over Western Colorado.
Middles Zayda Priebe and Rylie Bjerklie were each named to the Mountain Lion Classic All-Tournament Team, with Priebe tabbed as MVP. Priebe led the Beavers with 49 kills, 12 blocks and points with 55. She averaged 2.27 kills per set and hit n impressive .416 in 89 chances. Bjerklie added 43 kills, averaging 2.39 per set, while hitting .345. She also added 11 blocks, eight digs, five service aces and four assists to compile 54 points.
Five Beavers have at least 50 kills led by Ashley Crowl’s 80. Hallie Mertz adds 79, Priebe with 77, Bjerklie with 68 and Lauren Sitter with 50. Priebe holds a .389 hitting percentage, while Bjerklie is hitting .341. Emily Wade sets the offense up with 248 assists. Crowl has a team-high 20 service aces. On defense, Lauren Justesen has 137 digs, with Crowl adding 65, Mertz with 64 and Wade with 59. Bjerklie has sent back 21 blocks and Priebe adds 17.
MSU Moorhead is also 3-5 competing in Nebraska and Wisconsin tournament to begin the season. The Dragons went 2-2 in Nebraska with wins against South Dakota Mines and York University. During the most recent trip to Wisconsin, MSU Moorhead defeated Truman State in five sets, but lost the last two matches to Westminster College and Wisconsin-Parkside.
Bridget Witzmann leads the offense with 99 kills, while Jadyn Feist adds 68. Emily Skalicky sets up the offense with 181 assists. Witzmann leads the team in service aces with 14. On defense, Witzmann has 84 and McKenna Crews with 71. Jocelin Feutz has sent back 16 blocks and Raiah Mandell adds 14.
MSU Moorhead leads the series at 78-55-1 and have won the last 11 meetings. The last win for BSU was in 2014 with the Beavers claiming the 3-0 win in Bemidji. Last year, BSU went five sets against the Dragons in Bemidji and MSU Moorhead won in straight sets in Moorhead. Bemidji State is 20-44-1 in Moorhead.
To close the trip will be a visit to Aberdeen on Saturday against Northern State. NSU is 7-1 with trips to Arkansas and South Dakota. After dropping the first match of the season, the Wolves have reeled off seven straight wins. They last played on Saturday sweeping South Dakota Mines.
Morissen Samuels leads the offense with 93 kills and Hanna Thompson adds 71. Keri Walker sets the offense with 297 assists. On defense, Abby Meister has 184 digs, with Walker next at 88. Abby Brooks has sent back 33 blocks and Walker adds 25.
Northern State holds a 43-33 series record against Bemidji State and have won 17 straight in the series. The last win for BSU was in 2009 coming away with the 3-0 win in Bemidji. NSU is 24-12 in Aberdeen.
After this road trip, Bemidji State will finally return home to host UMary on Friday, Sept. 22 starting at 6 p.m. That will be the first of four straight at home with Minot State (Sept. 23), Sioux Falls (Sept. 29) and Minnesota-Duluth (Oct. 3) visiting Bemidji during that time.