Bemidji sophomore setter Margie Anderson reached 1,000 varsity assists for the Lumberjacks in just her 39th match, but Buffalo came away with a 3-2 victory (18-25, 25-16, 29-27, 23-25, 15-7) on Tuesday evening at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.
The Lumberjacks started in great form during an opening set where its attack constantly found openings–helped by 11 assists from Anderson, who needed 30 entering the night to reach the milestone mark. Beth Bolte led the charge with six kills as Bemidji led much of the way in a 25-18 win.
Momentum stayed on Bemidji’s side in the second game with a roaring 7-1 start in the home team’s favor. But Buffalo answered back with a set-changing 10-0 run filled with tricky serves for the Jacks to handle and an increasingly influential block at the net.
The Lumberjacks’ attack stayed varied in the second set, but could not muster enough to pull Bemidji back into the set despite big shots from Elizabeth Oster and Mollie Rupp.
Both teams traded marginal leads in the third set, but the Lumberjacks found themselves needing to rally midway through the set. Oster added an emphatic point to the push–and to Anderson’s pursuit of the assist mark–with a missile to the back row.
The setter flipped the script later in the set with a chance to swing after a battle at the net, putting a point on the board herself.
Down 20-16, Bemidji was able to seize the lead late in the set with help from some more big hitting from Rupp.
The Lumberjacks picked up two set points with a 24-22 lead, but Buffalo responded to extend the set as both teams started trading points back and forth. Anderson pulled within one assist of the milestone during the flurry, but Buffalo had the final say with the last two points of the third to take a 29-27 win.
Bemidji’s comeback bid in the match took a brief backseat early in the fourth set, as Oster dropped in a cross-court shot from Anderson’s feed to give the sophomore setter her highly anticipated 1,000th assist.
The setter turned attacker again a few points later with a crafty shot that helped the Lumberjacks recapture energy on their side.
Buffalo established a slim lead late in the set, but the Jacks closed strong to pull out a 25-23 win that finished with Anderson and Oster combining defensively on a block.
Undeterred, the visitors used more strong serving and quality defense to takek control early in the fifth and deciding game, going up 6-2 on their way to a comfortable 15-7 finish.
Rupp posted 17 kills to lead Bemidji, while Oster added 14 and Bolte fired in 12.
Bemidji (5-6) will next travel to Grand Rapids on Thursday for a 7pm match.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Alicia Kriens:
Postgame interview with Bemidji sophomore Margie Anderson: