Minot State University volleyball coach Travis Ward boiled down MSU's 3-0 loss to Bemidji State University (Minn.) on Friday to one essential statistic.
"Eight, seven, eight," said Ward, pointing to MSU's kills per set on the stat sheet. "You need 15 kills (per set) to win a Northern Sun match."
MSU (3-7) had an anemic .034 hitting percentage as Bemidji swept 25-17, 25-19, 25-20 at the MSU Dome in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opener for both teams.
Minot State University freshman Jasmin Pappa (11) hits into the Bemidji State block Friday at the MSU Dome. MSU sophomore setter Emily Byrne, right, looks on.
Bemidji senior outside hitter Bethany Thompson was the most dominant player on the court, playing six rotations and finishing with a match-high 15 kills. She also had eight digs.
"Bethany did a great job," Bemidji coach Wayne Chadwick said. "Fifteen kills, that's right about where we want her - five a game. Eight digs is not a bad number. The kid's an all-around player, she's just a great athlete and we're gonna be sorry to lose her next year."
Ward said the Beavers' front line didn't do enough to limit Thompson.
"She's a decent player but not if we block well," he said.
Bemidji went on a 10-2 run early in the first game to grab control. The match grew more competitive in the second game and featured longer rallies.
After trailing by seven points early in the game, MSU pulled within 20-18 as freshman outside hitter Jasmin Pappa had three kills in a short stretch. But Bemidji won five of the next six points to take a 2-0 game lead.
"Minot came up with some very good, scrappy plays, especially in that second game that gave them some life," Chadwick said. "I thought we responded pretty well to that."
With neither side playing crisply in the third game, Thompson had seven kills to finish off Bemidji's win.
Pappa and senior Shari Hewson tied for the team lead with six kills. Freshman Mallory Sall added four kills and a team-high nine digs.
Ward said Bemidji was better at getting into their offensive attack. BSU sophomore libero Elissa Christensen totalled 13 digs and sophomore setter Courtney Volkmann tallied 30 assists, both match highs.
"For sure, they passed well tonight," he said. "They did a good job with their game plan and we didn't execute ours. That's gonna be pretty much a disaster."
MSU hosts the University of Minnesota, Crookston at 7 tonight in the MSU Dome.