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BSU volleyball team splits opening matches at Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The Bemidji State University volleyball team split their first two matches to open the 2011 season Friday.

The Beavers picked up a 3-2 win over Minot State before falling to the South Dakota School of Mines 3-0.

The game scores in the victory over Minot were 25-14, 23-25, 25-20, 15-25 and 15-10. The game scores in the loss to South Dakota were 27-25, 25-17 and 25-22.

BSU concludes play at the Sioux Falls Active Ankle Invitational today. The Beavers face Black Hills State University at 10 a.m. and the University of Sioux Falls at 12 p.m.

The Beavers were led by Bethany Thompson's 17 kills in the first match of the day against Minot State. Thompson hit .481 on the match. She was joined by Rachel Craig who led all Beaver hitters with a .636 attack percentage.

Jessi-Beth McCannell split time at setter with Courtney Volkmann, the 2011 Minnesota Class AA Player of the Year. McCannell led BSU with 25 assists on the match.

Laura Carlson had 14 digs.

"Our match againt Minot State is what you would expect out of a team's first match of the season," said BSU head coach Wayne Chadwick. "We had to work out some of the kinks. We have looked great in practice going against each other but it is an entirely different scenario when you have to come out and play another opponent. When we were playing at our best it was very appearent that we are capable of scoring points."

Thompson also led the Beavers in kills in the second match of the day against South Dakota. She netted 11 kills while hitting .269 on the match. Kimberly Hacker led Bemidji State in attack percentage for the match, hitting .467.

McCannell and Volkmann combined for 36 assists against South Dakota School of Mines. Carlson again led the Beavers on defense with 11 digs.

"South Dakota School of Mines is a very talented team," Chadwick said. "They have very good size and to go with that they are a very solid ball-control team. When they are in system they are a hard team to stop. I believe that they could compete very well in the NSIC. We were able to find some success against them when we put pressure on them off our serve. When we gave away the serve they were able to put it right over the top of us."

Six of the 10 newcomers played in their first games as members of the BSU volleyball program.

Kelsi Crawford led all newcomers with 21 kills in two matches. Kelly Niles added 15 kills. Craig had 11 kills and hit .429 on the day. Volkmann had 19 assists to open her collegiate career. Newcomers

Elissa Christensen and Leigh Peterson also saw the court for the Beavers. Christensen had two digs while Peterson led all newcomers with eight digs. Three of the freshman (Craig, Crawford and Niles) started both matches for BSU.

"This is the start of a great opening weekend for our team," Chadwick said. "We have a lot of new players that played their first matches today and they showed what they are capable of. The freshman on this team are going to play a lot not only this year but moving forward. This is going to be a great group to build this program around as we try to take this program to the next level."