Beaver Fever Friday – Emily Wade – Volleyball

Bemidji State Volleyball set to host first matches of season this Friday and Saturday

After playing the first 10 matches of the season away from home, the Bemidji State University Volleyball team will get to enjoy playing in their own gym for the next four matches. The Beavers open the home stand against UMary this Friday night at 6 p.m. BSU will then face Minot State on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.

BSU played in four different states to begin the season. First traveling to Tennessee, then Colorado. Last week, Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) play began in Minnesota with a 3-2 win over MSU Moorhead. The trip concluded in South Dakota battling to four sets in a loss to Northern State.

The win over MSU Moorhead snapped an 11-game losing streak in the series and was the first win since 2014. It was the first win in Moorhead since 1999.

Bemidji State (4-6, 1-1 NSIC) won the first two sets and then MSU Moorhead responded to push the match to five. The Beavers took control in the decisive set jumping out to the 10-5 lead on their way to claiming the set at 15-10.

BSU enters the week posting 497 kills on the season and a .204 hitting percentage. The Beavers have 454 assists, 80 service aces, 509 digs and 60 blocks. Bemidji State leads the NSIC in team service aces and are second in the conference in aces per set (1.95).

Individually, Ashley Crowl and Hallie Mertz are both over 100 kills on the season with Crowl at 107 and Mertz at 106. Rylie Bjerklie and Zayde Priebe are both over two kills per set with Bjerklie tallying 86 kills (2.10 per set) and Priebe with 77 kills (2.41 per set).

Emily Wade has a team-high 322 assists. Crowl has 25 service aces and Mertz has added 18. On defense, Lauren Justesen has 181 digs and Bjerklie has sent back 24 blocks.

Crowl leads the NSIC and is 30th nationally in service aces per set (0.61). Priebe leads the NSIC and is 28th nationally in hitting percentage (.389). Crowl leads the NSIC and is 13th nationally in service aces. Justesen is second in the NSIC in digs.

UMary is 4-6 also on the season and 0-2 in conference play. The opened the season going 2-2 in the Yellowjacket Invitational in Montana. Then after going 2-2 in the other Yellowjacket Classic in South Dakota, they opened NSIC play falling in straight sets to Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State.

Ally Gruber leads the Marauders with 105 kills, while Nehkyah Ellis adds 83. Kameron Selvig has dished out 269 assists. On defense, Kaia Sueker has a team-best 125 digs, with Gruber adding 110. Three have at least 25 blocks led by Maddie Cooper’s 29 and both Reyna Isenbart and Alexandria Harper have 25 apiece.

Bemidji State is 16-14 in the series against UMary since 1987 and have gone 5-5 in the last 10 meetings. Last year, the teams split the meetings with each team winning at home. BSU rolled to the 3-0 sweep in Bemidji, while UMary won in four sets in Bismarck. The Beavers have won the last four meetings in Bemidji.

It will be a battle of the Beavers on Saturday afternoon when Minot State comes to town. Minot State is 1-8 and 0-2 in NSIC play. MSU began the season going 0-4 at the Yellowjacket Invitational in Montana. Then went 1-3 at the Lubbock Christian Tournament in Texas. They opened conference play getting swept by St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth.

Maggie Machado leads Minot State with 80 kills, while Bailee Brommenschenkel adds 55. Jaina Macaulay has dished out a team-high 184 assists. On defense, Kendal Braun has a team-high 155 digs and Machado has 101 digs. Taylor Wyatt has sent back 20 blocks.

Bemidji State is 11-7 in the series since 2001. BSU has won four straight in the series since 2019 going 2-0 in both Bemidji and Minot. Last year, BSU swept both meetings. Bemidji State has won the last two meetings in Bemidji.