ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Bemidji State women’s volleyball team has been picked to finish in a tie for eleventh in the 2008 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Volleyball Coaches Poll, announced today by the league office. The Beavers, who finished eighth in the NSIC in 2007 with an overall record of 10-17, return seven players from last years’ roster including junior outside hitter Brie Groskreutz (Reedsburg, Wis.) who was named as a 2008 NSIC Player to Watch in the same poll.
Groskreutz appeared in 95 of 96 games in 2007, which was tied for second among her teammates. She finished her sophomore campaign with 209 kills (2.20 k/g), fourth on the squad. She also led the team with 455 (4.79 d/g) digs, which was the most digs in a season by a Beaver player when Kristine Engman recorded 428 digs in 2004. Groskreutz also piled up 24 service aces, 15 set assists and 27 blocks (3 BS-24 BA). Groskreutz was the first player since 2001 to notch three consecutive 30-plus dig matches, while leading BSU with nine 20-dig matches and 10 double-double performances. She gained NSIC Defensive Player of the Week honors Sept. 10, 2007.
Concordia University, St. Paul’s Maggie McNamara (Zumbrota, Minn.) was named the 2008 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year after a sophomore campaign in which she earned her second All-American award. The junior setter led the Golden Bears of Concordia University to a National Championship last season, while topping all Division II setters for the second straight year with 2,093 assists, breaking her own Concordia record. McNamara matched her school record with 75 assists against Wayne State on October 20. McNamara has led the Golden Bears since her first collegiate match as she was named the NCAA Division II Freshman of the Year in 2006. She has also been named the NSIC Newcomer of the Year and is a two-time All-Region and All-NSIC selection. In two seasons she has compiled more than 4,000 assists, 700 digs, 125 blocks and 80 ace serves.
For the fifth consecutive season the 2007 NCAA Division II National Champions Concordia-St. Paul led the way at the top of the poll with 12 first place votes (168) on its way to edging out NSIC newcomer Minnesota Duluth, which garnered one first place vote (152), for top honors in the poll. Minnesota State garnered the remaining first place vote in the 2008 poll earning 130 points, projected to finish third.
Southwest Minnesota State garnered the fourth spot (128) with Wayne State College on their heals in fifth (125). Newcomer Augustana College edged out Minnesota State University, Moorhead for the sixth spot. The Vikings received 117 total points while the Dragons slid into the seventh spot with 103 points. Winona State was ten points behind the Dragons in the eighth spot with 92 total points. Northern State earned 68 for the ninth place finish with St. Cloud State rounding out the top ten with 57 points.
Bemidji State and the University of Mary Marauders tied for the eleventh spot as both teams earned 47 points. Minnesota, Crookston and Upper Iowa round out the final two spots in the 2008 poll with 25 and 16 points, respectively.
Under the direction of head coach Laurie Bitter, who is in her second year at the helm of the BSU volleyball program, the Beavers opened fall camp on Monday, Aug. 11 when student-athletes reported to campus for check-in. BSU begins play Aug. 29 at the Las Vegas Blast in Las Vegas, Nev. The Beavers will open the 2008 slate versus Newman University at 3 p.m.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).
2008 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Volleyball Coaches’ Preseason Poll
1. Concordia-St. Paul (12) - 168
2. Minnesota Duluth (1) - 152
3. Minnesota State (1) - 130
4. Southwest Minnesota State - 128
5. Wayne State - 125
6. Augustana - 117
7. MSU Moorhead - 102
8. Winona State - 92
9. Northern State - 68
10. St. Cloud State - 57
11. Bemidji State - 47
University of Mary - 47
13. Minnesota, Crookston - 25
14. Upper Iowa - 16
First place votes in ( )