Beaver Fever Friday – Hallie Mertz – Volleyball

Beaver Volleyball hosts Augustana, No. 1 Wayne State for Family Night/Senior Day

Beavers will honor five seniors on Saturday

The Bemidji State University Volleyball team will host their final two home games of the regular season this Friday and Saturday. The Beavers will face Augustana on Friday night at 6 p.m. that will also be Family Night. Then on Saturday, BSU will go against No. 1 Wayne State for Senior Day starting at 4 p.m.

Bemidji State (8-14, 5-9 NSIC) is coming off a tough four-set battle at Minnesota State that the Mavericks were able to hang on for a 3-1 win. The Beavers were last home on Oct. 21 against Winona State with the Warriors winning in three sets.

On Saturday, BSU will honor their five seniors before the match. Rylie Bjerklie has played in 258 sets and 74 matches during her career as a Beaver. She has 428 kills, 30 service aces, 90 digs and 150 blocks. Lauren Justesen has played in 192 sets and 56 matches during her career as a Beaver. She has 740 digs, 41 service aces and 148 assists. Madison Weyker has played in 153 sets and 52 matches during her career as a Beaver. She has 399 digs and 21 service aces. Rilee Michaelson has played in 86 sets and 41 matches during her career as a Beaver. She has 117 kills, 22 digs and 24 blocks. Hallie Mertz has played in 213 sets and 64 matches during her career as a Beaver. She has 510 kills, 63 service aces, 401 digs and 53 blocks.

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference standings are starting to take shape. Wayne State remains in first with a 14-0 conference mark. Concordia-St. Paul and Southwest Minnesota State are tied for second at 12-2. St. Cloud State holds the fourth spot at 10-4. Northern State is fifth at 9-5, with Winona State and Minnesota Duluth are tied for sixth at 8-6. Minnesota State and Sioux Falls are tied for eighth at 7-7. Augustana is in 10th at 6-8, followed by the Beavers in 11th at 5-9.

Bemidji State has 969 kills, 891 assists, 145 service aces, 1,067 digs and 130 blocks. Ashley Crowl leads the offense with 208 kills, with Bjerklie adding 193 and Mertz with 187. Sitter adds 136 kills, with Priebe at 109. Wade leads the team with 663 assists. Crowl has 41 service aces, with Mertz adding 36. Justesen has 379 digs, with Crowl at 180. Bjerklie has sent back 50 blocks, with Lilly Bandle adding 44.

The Beavers rank third in the NSIC in both service aces per set (1.77) and overall service aces (145). Crowl leads the NSIC in service aces per set (0.50) and overall service aces (41). She ranks 56th and 54th nationally in both categories. Bjerklie ranks 37th nationally in hitting percentage (0.359). Justesen is 61st nationally in digs per set (4.62).

Augustana is 9-15 overall and 6-9 in NSIC play. They recently faced Sioux Falls on Tuesday falling at home, 3-2. The Vikings have lost two straight dropping the match prior to the Cougars to Northern State in four sets. Augustana is 2-6 away from home this year.

Kia Kriener leads the team with 325 kills, followed by Reagan Jansen’s 204. Maya Wente (197) and Callie Hohenhaus (192) are close to 200. Lucy Bartee sets the offense up with 949 assists. Jansen has 36 service aces. On defense, Erike Bute has a team-best 513 digs, while Wente and Hohenhaus have sent back 81 blocks.

Augustana holds a 19-0 series record against Bemidji State since 2004 and won the first meeting this year back in early October by a score of 3-1. Crowl posted 11 kills, with Bjerklie adding nine. Wade had 23 assists, with Hally Holker adding 16. Justesen came away with 13 digs.

To finish the weekend, Bemidji State will host Wayne State for Senior Day on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. The Wildcats are still the No. 1 team in the nation holding a 24-1 record and 15-0 mark in NSIC play. Wayne State has won 17 straight games since falling to Concordia-St. Paul on Sep. 9 at the Colorado Premier in five sets. The Wildcats quickly got revenge on Sep. 15 hosting the Golden Bears and coming away with the 3-0 win in Wayne in the NSIC opener.

WSC has won their past four matches in sweeps as they defeated Minot State, Mary and Southwest Minnesota State this past week, including the win over the Mustangs this past Tuesday.

Taya Beller leads the offense with 305 kills, with Maggie Brahmer adding 301. Rachel Walker has 938 assists, with Kelsie Cada posting 36 service aces. Jordan McCormick has 362 digs, with Beller sending back 97 blocks and Brahmer has 88 blocks.

During the first meeting between the teams in early October, Wayne State picked up the 3-0 win in Wayne. Mertz and Crowl each tallied seven kills. Wade had 25 assists, while Justesen had 14 digs. Bandle sent back three blocks.

Wayne State holds a 30-3 series record against Bemidji State since 1995. The Wildcats have won the past four meetings, with the last Bemidji State win coming in 2019 by a 3-1 score in Bemidji. That’s when the Wildcats were ranked eighth in the nation.

Career notes: Justesen recently passed 700 digs. In 192 sets played, Justesen has 740 digs, averaging 3.85 per set. Mertz recently eclipsed 500 kills in her career and now has 510 in 213 sets. Wade continues her push for 2,000 career assists and is now at 1,755. Bjerklie is closing in on 500 career kills and is now at 428. Sitter is close to passing 400 career kills and enters the week at 396. Crowl is close to 350 kills and enters the week at 341.