Here’s my story in Wednesday’s Pioneer.
Nicole Solum, Nicole Olson, Lindsey Weyer and Bethany Thompson were a force on the court in the Bemidji State volleyball team’s fourth straight win Tuesday night at BSU Gymnasium.
The Beavers won the home opener and conference opener with a 3-0 sweep over the University of Mary by game scores of 25-17, 25-17 and 25-20.
Solum led the Beavers with 11 kills, Olson and Weyer each had 10 kills, and Thompson had nine.
“Our four hitters, when you look at their hitting percentages they just did solid tonight,” Bemidji State head coach Wayne Chadwick said. “When you look at all the kills that’s a stat indicative of ball control and our setter creating options so the defense can’t just key on one particular hitter.”
That setter was Jessi-Beth McCannell and she had 36 set assists on the night to lead BSU. Brie Groskreutz anchored the back line defense in the win and had 14 digs. McCannell had nine digs and Weyer had five digs.
“I thought we did a great job tonight and our hitting numbers were phenomenal,” Chadwick said. “I’d like our dig numbers to be a little bit higher, but I thought tonight we played a really composed match, went on the runs when we needed to and created points.”
Over the last few seasons, most of Bemidji State’s offense has come through Olson and consistent support from the rest of the front line was hard to find.
If BSU can show the offensive versatility displayed against the Marauders, the Beavers should be on track to win more games this season.
The four-game winning streak moves BSU to 7-2 overall (1-0 NSIC) to start the season.
“There are times in the past where we’ve been down as a team and we haven’t had the confidence to pull ourselves back into the game,” Olson said. “I really think the start has to do with our confidence. Our coach really has respect for us and we really try to work hard for him. I also think in the past year we’ve really grown as a team.”
The Beavers won the home opener in front of an announced crowd of 582 fans and needed a little over an hour to win the match.
Right before the match point of the third and final game, the student section rose to their feet to cheer on the volleyball squad. Chadwick gestured with his hands for the crowd to cheer louder, the fans responded and Weyer blasted the winning kill over the outstretched hands of a pair of Mary defenders.
“We just really wanted to win the home opener in our first game back in front of the fans and win that first conference game,” Thompson said. “We’re all having a lot of fun right and we’re working hard in practice. If we’re going to go far this is a good year to do it. We’ve got a great group of seniors and we really want to do it for them.”
Some of my favorite photos from the night. Click here to see the full gallery