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Bemidji St. volleyball: Bitter and Olson rally Beavers to victory in five-set thriller

Bemidji State's Nicole Olson (center) hammers a spike past the attempted blocks from Augustana's Jenna Hultgren (left) and Brianna Erickson (right) during the second set Friday night at BSU Gymnasium. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

Courtney Bitter posted her first career triple-double to lead the Bemidji State volleyball team to victory Friday night at BSU Gymnasium.

The Beavers defeated Augustana 3-2 behind Bitter's 46 set assists, 11 kills and 19 digs.

The set scores were 25-14, 22-25, 17-25, 25-14 and 15-10.

"We all played out of our minds," Bitter said. "We had really good team chemistry. I think what we were lacking was confidence. We didn't think we could come out and dominate against a highly-ranked conference team, but we did it tonight."

Bemidji State improved to 6-10 overall and 3-3 in NSIC play. Bemidji State won just three conference games all of last season. The Vikings dropped to 8-10 overall and 3-3 NSIC.

Nicole Olson added a career-high 20 kills and a season-high eight block assists in the win. Laura Carlson had a career high 17 kills. Brie Groskreutz fell one dig short of tying her career-high in digs with 32.

"I'm so proud of our team because we wanted to turn our game around and we did tonight," said head coach Laurie Bitter. "We came out strong in the first set and controlled the court. Our defense tonight was phenomenal."

Bemidji State won the first match, but lost the next two to fall behind 2-1.

Bemidji State did not give up and pushed out to an early 3-0 lead in the fourth set and maintained at least four-point lead the rest of the way to force the decisive fifth set.

In the fifth set, BSU took the lead at 6-5 on Laura Slinger's kill and pulled away to a 13-8 lead it never gave back.

In her first match with significant playing time, Lindsey Weyer served seven times in the fifth set and had a run of three points that put BSU ahead for good.