Dropped points in the late stages of all three sets ultimately upended Bemidji volleyball in a 3-0 loss (25-22, 25-23, 25-20) to Rocori on Thursday evening in Cold Spring, the Lumberjacks’ sixth-straight loss.
The Lumberjacks had hopes of notching a second win of the season against two-win Rocori, and started well with a 4-0 burst to open the match that was backed by an ace from setter Emily Wade.
The senior was seeking a personal milestone Thursday night after being denied her 1,000th assist at the varsity level for Bemidji volleyball in the previous game due to a broken nose. Back in the lineup against Rocori with a protective mask on, she served up a hit for Alli Lillquist that took her to the big number midway through the first set.
Trailing 19-13 in the first, the Lumberjacks pulled off a big run to surge into a 21-20 lead with a kill from Kate Hildenbrand and an ace from Beth Bolte highlighting the push.
Rocori responded with a 5-1 stretch that allowed the Spartans to capture the opening set by three.
After a slow start, Bemidji jumped in front early in the second set and maintained the lead into the middle stages with a lot of effective hitting coming from the outside.
Lillquist picked up another big kill late in the set as Bemidji tried to maintain what had been a 21-16 advantage at one point.
The Lumberjacks led 23-21 late before another push by the Spartans secured the last four points of the set and a turnaround 25-23 victory that put Bemidji on the brink of defeat in the match.
Once again, Lillquist brought the hitting presence for Bemidji to open the third on the outside.
Rocori took back control late in the set to go up by four, but a long rally went Bemidji’s way to provide a little burst of life late in the match.
From there, the Spartans again closed out the set with a run to take the third 25-20 and finish off a sweep of the match.
Lillquist and Kennedy Smith each posted 11 kills in the defeat to lead Bemidji, while Beth Bolte provided three blocks and three aces.
The Lumberjacks return home with a 1-7 record going into a rescheduled, reworked doubleheader with Sauk Rapids-Rice that will be played at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse tomorrow afternoon at 12pm and 3pm. Both matches can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network beginning at 11:45am on KBUN-FM 104.5 and KBUN1 at kbunsportsradio.com.
Postgame interview with senior Emily Wade after reaching 1,000 assists for Bemidji volleyball: