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VOLLEYBALL: Beavers drop opening pair in Michigan to begin season

The Bemidji State volleyball team came ever so close to a season-opening victory on Friday, but the Beavers instead got stuck with an 0-2 start to the year.

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Bemidji State Beavers
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MARQUETTE, Mich. -- The Bemidji State volleyball team came ever so close to a season-opening victory on Friday, but the Beavers instead got stuck with an 0-2 start to the year.

BSU dropped a tight 3-2 decision to Cedarville (19-25, 25-14, 21-25, 25-22, 15-5), then lost 3-0 to Central Oklahoma (25-16, 25-14, 25-12) to open the Northern MIchigan Tournament in Marquette, Mich.

Against the Yellow Jackets (1-0), Bemidji State won the first set of the fall thanks to a decisive finish. Despite a lead of just 17-16, the Beavers rattled off an 8-3 run to close it out, including an ace from Ashley East to clinch the win.

Cedarville won the second set to tie up the match, but the third set belonged to Bemidji State. This time, East’s kill made for the penultimate point, and Ashley Crowl finished off the set with an ace on the ensuing point for the 2-1 edge.

The Beavers came within a handful of points from winning it in the fourth set. BSU roared to life with an 8-0 run that gave them a 21-20 lead, but after splitting the next two points, the Yellow Jackets earned the final four points of the frame.

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The fifth set was all Cedarville. The Yellow Jackets got out to a 6-0 lead, which became 13-3 and ultimately 15-5 to squash Bemidji State’s hopes.

Crowl tallied a team-high nine kills in the match, while East had eight and Rylie Bjerklie seven. Crowl also had four aces, while Emily Wade had 16 set assists alongside 14 assists from Hally Holker. Defensively, Lauren Justesen made a team-high 18 digs.

In the second match of the day against Central Oklahoma, the Beavers never got their footing.

The Bronchos (2-0) cruised 25-16 and 25-14 in the first two sets, and they continued the hot streak into the third with a final 25-12 victory.

Justesen again paced BSU defensively with a team-best 10 digs. Wade tallied nine assists, and Hallie Mertz had a pair of aces. But nobody had more than four kills for Bemidji State against UCO, and nobody recorded a block.

BSU wraps up the tournament on Saturday, Aug. 27, against Lake Superior State at 2 p.m. and against Northern Michigan at 6 p.m. back in Marquette.

Cedarville 3, Bemidji State 2

CED 19 25 21 25 15 -- 3

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BSU 25 14 25 22 5 -- 2

Central Oklahoma 3, Bemidji State 0

UCO 25 25 25 -- 3

BSU 16 14 12 -- 0

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