A 10-0 run from Moorhead in the early stages of the second set produced a major swing in momentum to help the five-time defending Section 8AAA volleyball champions top Bemidji 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-18) last night at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
The first set played out in a close manner all throughout, with Bemidji’s block making an early impact. Filling in from the start for Elizabeth Oster, senior middle Emma Huberty picked up an early block on the outside to help the Bemidji defense settle in.
Kate Hildenbrand notched a few opening set kills working on the right side, smartly dropping shots in the midst of the Spuds’ defense as both teams traded small early leads.
Set one looked to be heading for a close conclusion with the two teams tied at 21, but Moorhead strung together four straight points to close out the first with a 25-21 victory.
The second set opened brightly for the Lumberjacks, who again nudged out to an early lead and again picked up good hitting from Hildenbrand on the outside.
At the net, Bemidji’s block continued to periodically pick up points, with even setter Emily Wade providing a blocking presence to repel Moorhead attacks.
The evening’s critical stretch came with Bemidji in front 7-5 in the second set. Using a combination of ferocious blocking defensively and powerful serving, the Spuds roared to a 10-0 run that seized control of both the set and the momentum in the match. The Lumberjacks could not make a serious dent into the deficit, losing the second 25-16.
Set three began with both teams trading runs. Moorhead opened with the first four points before Bemidji picked up three straight. But a 6-0 run from the visitors quickly took them to a 10-3 lead that left the Lumberjacks playing catch-up the rest of the way.
Working down the outside, Beth Bolte picked up a kill off the block as the Lumberjacks tried to piece a few points together.
Not long after, Emily Wade fired in a good serve for an ace that gave Bemidji a mini-run while trimming the deficit.
Moorhead’s early lead was ultimately too much to rally back from, as Bemidji was topped 25-18 in the third set after salvaging a few late points.
Kennedy Smith led the Lumberjacks with six kills, while Wade provided nine assists and three aces.
The Lumberjacks fall to 1-3 with their second-straight loss in three sets, and will next visit Alexandria on Thursday evening at 7pm. Lumberjack Live pregame will be at 6:45 on KBUN-FM 104.5 and KBUN1 at kbunsportsradio.com.
Postgame with Bemidji head coach Alicia Kriens: