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VOLLEYBALL: Beavers begin 2018 with split

KENOSHA, Wis. -- The Bemidji State volleyball team opened the 2018 season Friday afternoon with a 3-2 (26-24, 18-25, 24-26, 25-17, 15-9) victory over Purdue Northwest at the Wisconsin-Parkside Tournament. The Beavers then got out to a 2-1 lead in their second match of the day against Saginaw Valley State before falling in five sets, 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 27-29, 29-27, 15-5).

In the season-opening match against PNW, BSU prevailed in the first set, 26-24, but dropped the next two sets. The Beavers recovered to win sets four and five to clinch their first win since Sept. 9, 2017.

After falling behind 2-1, BSU countered with its best set and recorded 16 kills to just three errors for a .361 hitting percentage to even the match. The Beavers then quickly took an early 10-2 lead in the fifth set before winning 15-9.

“Really excited that we finished well in that first match,” BSU head coach Kevin Ulmer said in a press release. “Shout-out to our backcourt and bench for being able to step up and dig balls and pass and to get over the hump so to speak especially Kelli Auer, Becky Schroeder and Mary Campbell.”

Three Beavers totaled over 10 kills in the match, including the freshman Campbell, who came off the bench after the first set to hit .625 with 10 kills and no errors. Fellow freshman Greta Paszek led the Beavers with 11 kills and hit .121 while sophomore Becka Cronin added 10 kills on .094 hitting while also tallying 10 digs.

Freshman Maddie Mackinac coordinated the Beavers’ attack and totaled 46 assists while also contributing 13 digs. Junior Emma Hallmann led BSU’s backcourt with a game-high 15 digs while senior Maddie Filipiak led the team with three blocks.

The second set of the day also went the distance. After dropping the first set, Bemidji State earned successive wins to pull ahead 2-1.

However, SVSU took the fourth and fifth sets to seal the 3-2 victory.

Sophomore Anna Averkamp tied a career best with 17 kills in the match while also hitting at a .238 percentage. Junior Julie Touchett and Campbell each followed with 12 kills, and Campbell led the team with a .290 efficiency. Mackinac racked up 43 assists with 10 digs. Hallmann led the team with 12 digs.

The Beavers (1-1) continue tournament play today with matches against Minnesota Crookston and Wisconsin-Parkside at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.