A marathon opening-set loss after leading 24-21 left Bemidji volleyball playing catch-up the rest of the night as Nevis rolled to a 3-0 win (30-28, 25-18, 25-22) at the Bemidji High School Fieldhouse on Tuesday evening.
The first meeting since 2014 between the relatively local teams brought the Tigers to Bemidji as winners of 10 of their first 11 matches of the new season and eager to take their shot against the Class AAAA school. The Jacks opened the first set with a lead for much of the way, putting together good attacks and getting multiple contributions–both hitting and blocking–from setter Margie Anderson.
Despite holding a late lead and on the brink of claiming the first set, the Lumberjacks suddenly could not close it out and were forced to scramble when the Tigers had a series of set points in an increasingly lengthy game. Aurora Frank came up with a critical kill during the exchanges that knotted the set at 28 and kept the marathon going.
But a combination of crisp passing and relentless middle hitting helped Nevis propel itself to a 30-28 victory in the first–momentum the Tigers used to build an early lead in the second. The Jacks tried to find answers defensively at the net and got a strong block from Brooklyn Saiger as they worked to come from behind.
Just as she had displayed throughout the early part of the season, junior outside hitter Mollie Rupp took to multiple spots on the court to display her hitting prowess for a series of kills in the middle of the second.
Nevis’ early lead proved too great to overcome, as the Tigers never trailed in a 25-18 set victory that put Bemidji on the brink early.
Hoping to muster a rally just as they had done in sets three and four against Moorhead the previous week, the Jacks started the third brightly with more involvements in attack from Rupp.
Another spark came from Saige Gjovik off the bench when she delivered a cross-court kill that brought another surge of life into Bemidji’s side.
Though the Jacks led for another good chunk of the third, the Tigers once again applied the finish to the set with a push that saw them claim four of the final five points of the night to win 25-22 and complete a stunning sweep on Bemidji’s floor.
Rupp posted 22 kills in the loss while Anderson served up 33 assists.
Bemidji dropped to 4-3 overall with the loss.