HIGHLIGHTS: Bemidji Finishes Home Slate With Four-Set Win Against Duluth East

Two strong finishes in the opening sets set the tone for Bemidji volleyball to win 3-1 against Duluth East (25-18, 25-17, 15-25, 25-16) in the Lumberjacks’ final regular season home match Tuesday evening at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.

The Lumberjacks needed some time to get going with issues serving, passing, and receiving serves all cropping up at various stages of a relatively tight first set. They found their flow trailing 16-14, going on an 8-0 run during the serving of Kennedy Smith to change the tide of the set.

Beth Bolte brought the first set to a comfortable conclusion with a big hit to the back line that wrapped up the 25-18 scoreline.

The second set was all Lumberjacks, as they never trailed after roaring out to a 6-0 lead. Their attack varied inside and out with kills from Allie Lillquist down the middle and Smith on the outside edge.

Kate Hildenbrand pieced together an effective stretch on the left side of the attack when she hammered down three consecutive kills to further extend the lead late in the second.

The Greyhounds battled the hosts very evenly in the early points of the third with both teams going back and forth for a lengthy stretch.

With the set tied at 11, Duluth East mustered a 14-4 run to run away with the third and carry some momentum over into a fourth.

Bemidji quickly reset itself to open up a 7-2 lead in the fourth set, one that had some blocking help in the middle from Elizabeth Oster.

The Greyhounds again put a surge together to tighten things up again, but Bemidji would never trail in the match’s final game. Jody Pemberton’s serving yielded an ace for the Lumberjacks before Lillquist and Hildenbrand picked up kills to increase the lead.

The Lumberjacks left no room for a comeback in the final points thanks to more good defending–including a block from Margie Anderson alongside Oster that helped Bemidji close in on the victory.

Bemidji heads into its final matches of the regular season at 12-10 overall, and will have a tournament in Chaska on Saturday leading into next week’s Section 8AAAA playoffs.

Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Alicia Kriens: