Bemidji State Picked Seventh in NSIC Preseason Poll
Thursday, August 21, 2003
BEMIDJI, MINN. - After finishing the 2002 season sixth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, the 2003 NSIC Coaches Poll has Bemidji State taking seventh. With 29 votes, BSU sits in front of Winona State (17 votes) and Minnesota-Crookston (16 votes).

Receiving seven of the nine first place votes is Minnesota-Duluth. UM-Duluth, the first league team with a No. 1 national ranking at the NCAA Division II level last season, lost 2002 NSIC Most Valuable Player Becky Kukowski. However, the Bulldogs return three all-conference first teamers including 2003 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year in Callie Zwettler. Last season, UM-D earned its 20th NSIC title, breezing through the conference with an 18-0 mark.

Concordia-St. Paul had two first-place nods on the polls and was just five marks shy of UM-Duluth as it settles for second in the preseason polls. The Golden Bears see three first-teamers return in addition to 2002 NSIC Newcomer of the Year Cailin Terhaar. C-SP went 13-5 in 2002 and maintained a No. 7 ranking in the North Central Region.

“ Those two (Minnesota-Duluth, Concordia-St. Paul) have been the stronger teams in the league the past couple of seasons,” said head coach Kim Falkenhagen. “We will have to go all out to show that we want to be contenders with them.”

The third through sixth spots look like this: Southwest Minnesota State (45 votes), Wayne State (39), Northern State (36) and MSU-Moorhead (29).

The Beavers welcome back 2002 All-NSIC First Team selection senior Lisa Smith and honorable mention honoree junior Heather Haugen. Also, senior Nicole McDougallis looking to get back to her 2001 form when she was honorable mention status and the 2002 NSIC Player to Watch. McDougall made it on the Player to Watch list for the 2003 season.

McDougall maintained an 0.72 blocks per game clip last year, which was tops on the club. However, the 6-3 senior had better numbers in 2001 when she was a league honorable mention selection. McDougall led BSU in kills per game (2.80), attempts per game (7.69) and blocks per game (0.97) and was second in hitting percentage (.174). The Hitterdal, Minn., native broke over an 11-year BSU drought as she recorded a triple-double - 22 kills, 11 digs, 11 blocks against Minnesota-Morris, Sept. 21, 2001.

McDougall joins eight other league athletes, one from each institution, on the list.

Bemidji State opens up 2003 action with a four-game spread at the MSU-Moorhead Tournament, Aug. 29-30 in Moorhead, Minn. BSU opens up with Concordia-Moorhead at 12 p.m. on Friday with St. Cloud State to follow at 4 p.m.

2003 NSIC Players to Watch

Jessica Bates Northern State 6-0 Sr. MH Byron, Wyo.
Katie Carlson Minnesota-Crookston 5-10 Sr. OH Mora, Minn.
Jill Kavlik Concordia-St. Paul 5-11 Sr. MH Minneapolis, Minn.
Keri Kreuzer Winona State 5-10 Sr. MH Winona, Minn.
Nicole McDougall Bemidji State 6-3 Sr. MB Hitterdal, Minn.
Heather Schuller Wayne State (Neb.) 5-10 Jr. OH Central City, Neb.
Courtney Syvertson MSU-Moorhead 6-0 Sr. MH Colfax, N.D.
Ashley Wells SW Minnesota State 6-0 So. MB Elba, Neb.

** 2003 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year
Callie Zwettler Minnesota-Duluth 5-7 Jr. OH Madison, Wis.