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VOLLEYBALL: No. 16 Vikings better BSU

BEMIDJI -- For a 20th consecutive match, the Bemidji State volleyball team came out on the losing end. On Saturday, it was a 3-0 (25-10, 25-21, 25-15) loss at the hands of No. 16 Augustana that did in the Beavers at the BSU Gymnasium.

The Vikings (20-8, 11-7 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) made a statement right out of the gate, taking a 6-1 lead early in the first set, which expanded to double-digits at 16-6. Becky Schroeder stopped the bleeding for Bemidji State (3-24, 0-18 NSIC) with a kill, but Augie ran off the next six points en route to the 25-10 win in the first -- capped by back-to-back kills by Payton Rosendahl and Ashley Wilson.

The Beavers held their own throughout much of the second set, keeping it all but even at 8-7 following a Taylor Nier kill. And although Augustana separated with a 15-9 lead, BSU fought to return back within striking distance.

A kill from Schroeder and a pair of Viking errors brought Bemidji State two points away at 21-19, a quick run from evening the match at one set apiece. However, Augie responded with three straight to force set point. And although BSU delayed the finish with the next two, Augustana put it away on a Bailey Koch kill, making for a 25-21 final.

Julie Touchett got the Beavers off on the right foot in the third, starting the set with a kill as BSU took a 2-0 lead. It was their only advantage of the match, though, and the Vikings won 10 of the next 11 points to seize a 10-3 lead.

Another long string of points for Augustana -- this one 11 of 13 -- put Bemidji State in a 21-7 deficit. And though BSU denied Augie on five straight match points, Alex Banker put an end to it with a powerful kill that sent the Vikings off as 25-15 winners.

Schroeder led the Beavers in the kills department with eight, while Sami Leach and Shelby Haney totalled eight and seven assists, respectively. Emma Hallmann’s 11 digs led BSU and Touchett came away with two blocks and an ace for Bemidji State, as well.

The Beavers last won on Sept. 9 -- a 3-2 victory over Lake Superior State -- but have since dropped 20 in a row, including 18 to open its gauntlet of a conference schedule. The 20-game skid is the longest in program history.

Bemidji State has two final cracks at breaking it when they close out the regular season on the road. BSU will first face Sioux Falls at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, before taking on Southwest Minnesota State at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Echo Press in Alexandria. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Alexandria area sports updates and jokes he thinks are funny.

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