HIGHLIGHTS: Jacks Muster Comeback To Force 5th Set, But Moorhead Prevails In Thriller

Bemidji volleyball came from two sets down to send the match to a fifth and decisive set before Moorhead used an 8-1 start to pull out a 3-2 victory (25-22, 25-14, 21-25, 14-25, 15-9) in a high-energy clash between the Section 8AAA rivals on Thursday at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse.

The Jacks had captured consecutive straight-set victories on home floor against Park Rapids and Thief River Falls to set the stage for the first of two matchups with the Spuds. The hosts opened the first set leaning on the dynamite hitting of junior Mollie Rupp to open up a lead that was as large as six.

Defensive adjustments from Moorhead worked to take away Rupp’s effectiveness as the set progressed, giving the varied attack of the Spuds the chance to surge ahead with a 10-3 run late in the first that yielded a 25-22 victory.

The second set proved to be a continuation of the conclusion to the first, with Moorhead seizing control after the Jacks had taken the lead in the early points. Setter Margie Anderson provided a rare Bemidji bright spot in the second with a clever shot that caught the Spuds block by surprise.

With their backs against the wall in the match and the energy in the building suddenly coming to life thanks to noise from both sides in the stands, Bemidji mustered a clutch finish to a close third set to extend the match. Rupp was starting to become more effective in attack again and supplemented it with a big ace while serving.

The Jacks edged in front in the late stages of the set behind a kill from Anna Frenzel, then rounded off the third by converting on set point.

Momentum stayed with the Lumberjacks in the fourth behind a sensational set from Rupp. The outside hitter blasted in from all areas of the court to overwhelm Moorhead’s defense while also providing pinpoint serving.

Rupp’s large contributions opened doors for others to have opportunities to contribute in attack, and Livia Ritchie provided several impactful moments of her own to help Bemidji race to a dominant 25-14 win–and a fifth set beyond.

But it was a decisive 8-1 run from the Spuds to open the fifth that put the match out of Bemidji’s reach. The Jacks pulled out points on long rallies, but were unable to turn them into a run of their own on the way to a 15-9 defeat.

Rupp posted a remarkable 31-kill performance to lead Bemidji’s attack.

The Lumberjacks drop to 4-2 and will remain home to host Nevis on Tuesday at 7:15pm. Pregame will be at 7 on The BUN Sportsradio 104.5 & Lumberjacks1 at kbunsportsradio.com.

Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Alicia Kriens: