BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- Bemidji State University volleyball sophomore middle blocker Julie Touchett was named the Beavers’ Player to Watch as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference released its 2017 Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Beavers were selected 15th in the poll and will be led by second-year head coach Kevin Ulmer.
The Bemidji State roster will see a new look for the 2017 season as the majority of the team has yet to don a Beavers jersey on the court. Five letter winners return to the squad this season while 10 newcomers join the program. The Beavers progressed from 2015 to 2016 with improvements in hitting efficiency and blocking. Touchett will aim to continue to improve both facets further in her second season with the program. She finished her freshman campaign second on the team with 64 total blocks and third with 139 kills and 21 service aces.
Concordia University, St. Paul was selected to finish first in the preseason poll for the 14th consecutive season collecting 218 points and 10 first-place votes. Southwest Minnesota State University, which shared the NSIC regular season title last season, was picked second as the Mustangs received 202 points and three first-place votes. University of Minnesota Duluth and Augustana University were the only other teams to receive first-place votes. Bemidji State tallied 46 votes to rank 15th in the NSIC. Seven NSIC teams finished among the final American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 to cap the 2016 season.
Sophomores Emma Hallman and Shelby Haney also return for their second seasons with BSU after ranking among the top 20 in the NSIC in multiple categories. Hallman totaled 3.35 digs per set to rank 19th in the conference while Haney totaled 7.72 assists per game to rank 14th and 0.33 service aces per set to rank 13th.
Bemidji State begins its season Sept. 1-2 with four non-conference matches at the Minot State Tournament in Minot, N.D. BSU opens the tournament Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. against South Dakota School of Mines and 5 p.m. against Minnesota State University Moorhead. BSU closes the tournament Sept. 2 at 1 p.m. against Montana State University Billings and at 5 p.m. against Minot State University.
NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team (First Place Votes) Total Points
- Concordia-St. Paul (10) 218
- Southwest Minnesota State (3) 202
- Minnesota Duluth (2) 201
- Augustana (1) 172
- Winona State 171
- Wayne State 157
- Sioux Falls 146
- Northern State 133
- Minnesota State University Mankato 113
- MSU Moorhead 77
- Upper Iowa 74
- Minnesota Crookston 71
- St. Cloud State 70
- U-Mary 54
- Bemidji State 46
- Minot State 15
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).