Bemidji State University is home to many collegiate sports teams, including a women’s volleyball team. The school is situated in Minnesota along the shores of scenic Lake Bemidji, which is widely considered to be the official headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. Bemidji has a student population of about 6,354, with about 402 of those students participating in at least one sport.
Most sports at Bemidji State, including volleyball, compete in Division II of the NCAA; however, the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams are both D1.
As a D2 team, the Bemidji State Beavers compete against 295 other D2 volleyball teams in the NCAA tournament. They ranked 264th in 2021, closing out the season with a cumulative attack percentage of .098, which indicates a below-average performance.
However, the team has performed more competently in past seasons, with their highest cumulative attack percentage in recent years coming in at .203 in 2016. This is considered an average hitting percentage, with plenty of room for growth but also lots of potential.
For comparison’s sake, the top D2 volleyball teams ended the 2021 season with hitting percentages of around .290-.310. All of the top D1 teams averaged over .300 when it comes to hitting percentage.
In addition to its NCAA appearances, the school competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). This conference consists of 16 fellow D2 teams from colleges and universities in the Midwest. Nine members of the NSIC hail from Minnesota, including Bemidji State. Bemidji finished with a 2-26 record in the 2021 NSIC.
Along with Bemidji’s Division II and NSIC matches, the school participates in several regional tournaments and invitationals held further afield. The team is slated to compete in two such tournaments in the fall of 2022: the Northern Michigan Tournament and the Flagler Saints Invitational.
All of the participants in both of these events are D2 schools. It is relatively unheard of for a D1 school to face off against a school from Division II, even in friendly competition.
The 2022 Northern Michigan Tournament is scheduled to be held at the end of August at the Vandament Arena in Marquette, Michigan. Bemidji will compete against four other teams from the Midwest: Cedarville, Central Oklahoma, Lake Superior State, and Northern Michigan itself.
Held in St. Augustine, Florida at the beginning of September, the 2022 Flagler Saints Invitational will be played in two different locations: the Flagler Gymnasium and the Clark Family Court. Bemidji will go up against four other schools from varying parts of the country. The competitors include Southern New Hampshire, tournament hosts Flagler College, Emmanuel College from Georgia, and Eckerd College from Florida.
In addition to its NCAA division and regional conference, Bemidji State is notable for its participation in regionals and invitationals that are sometimes far away from its home state of Minnesota. This willingness to travel makes the Beavers stand out in spite of their relatively low ranking in last year’s national tournament and regional conference.