ALEXANDRIA -- The Bemidji High School volleyball team’s season came to an end Wednesday night as the ninth-seeded Lumberjacks fell, 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-16), to No. 8 seed Alexandria in a Section 8AAA Tournament first-round match.
The Lumberjacks finished the season at 11-17, while the Cardinals improved to 13-14 and moved on in the tournament.
This season has been one of growing pains for Bemidji, and head coach Alicia Kriens said that showed Wednesday.
“Overall, we’ve talked about how we’re a pretty young team,” said Kriens. “We started off the season with nobody who really had a true role on the varsity squad. It kind of felt like we were a brand-new, young team, and being in our first section match and putting some of those girls in, it’s something new.”
Wednesday night marked the fifth consecutive playoff meeting for the two teams, and the ninth in the last 10 seasons. Bemidji won each postseason meeting from 2010 to 2016, with Alexandria winning in 2009, 2017 and now 2018.
“We always know it’s going to be a tough match,” Kriens said. “For some reason, us and Alex always have quite the battle. I was hoping for a little bit more of that tonight.”
Seniors Rumer Flatness and Emma Muller, and junior Taylor Wade each posted five kills to lead the team. Sophomore Emily Wade paced the Jacks with a team-high nine assists.
Defensively, sophomore Jenna Anderson recorded 14 digs, and Flatness made two blocks.
Four Lumberjacks played their final match as seniors, including Flatness, Muller, Kenzie Christiansen and Mikerra Mathews.
“(Thank you) to the seniors for their effort and their commitment to our team, and really giving 100 percent and being leaders on the court,” Kriens said.
Nine Lumberjacks are not set to graduate, and will look to build on this season’s experience.
“We’re losing some key seniors -- both of our middles -- that did a lot for us,” Kriens said. “That is something that we will be filling those positions, and they play a huge part for us. Kenzie Christiansen was a huge blocker for us, so filling her shoes will obviously be a big task.
“But I think overall we have a solid group of juniors and sophomores that are still with us. Our libero (and) both of our outsides are staying. We’ll fill in another setter, but I think next year, it’s looking pretty good.”