BURNSVILLE, Minn. - Bemidji State University was picked to finish sixth in the 2013 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Preseason Soccer Coaches’ Poll, Tuesday. The league also announced junior forward Mary O’Brien (Maplewood, Minn.) and senior defender Samantha Lumberg (Woodbury, Minn.) as NSIC Players to Watch for the 2013 campaign.
Under head coach Jim Stone, who is entering his 12th season at the helm of the BSU soccer program, the Beavers enter their third consecutive season as the league’s preseason No. 6 pick and are coming off a 2012 season in which league coaches correctly selected the Beavers’ finish (sixth).
A Third-Team All-NSIC pick and Third-Team NSCAA/Continental Tire Women’s NCAA Division II All-Central Region Team in 2012, Lumberg has not missed a game during her collegiate career playing on the BSU backline in all 57 games since arriving on campus in the fall of 2010. She was a key contributor to five shutouts in 2012 anchoring a defensive unit that allowed just 1.22 goals per game in league play. Offensively, she chipped in one point, an assist, on seven shots last fall. She has four collegiate assists and was a member of a 2010 BSU defensive corps that set a school record for goals allowed (16).
O’Brien, a Second-Team All-NSIC selection and Third-Team NSCAA/Continental Tire Women’s NCAA Division II All-Central Region pick, led the Beavers in scoring with 24 points in 2012. She established career-high totals for goals scored (10), which included two game-winning goals, and four assists, seeing time in all 19 of the Beavers’ games. She tied for fifth in the NSIC, netting 19 points (8g-3a) and tied for second in goals scored in league play with eight. In her first two seasons at Bemidji State, O’Brien has accumulated 31 points (13g-4a) and already ranks tenth on BSU’s career scoring list and is tied for eighth on the program’s all-time goals scoring list (13). O'Brien's total of 10 goals as a sophomore equals Lindsey Natwick (2002-05) for eighth on the Beavers’ single-season goal scoring list.
Winona State University topped the NSIC preseason poll for the third consecutive year, while the league’s coaches selected Minot State University’s Zoe Fisher as NSIC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Amanda Smith of Upper Iowa University NSIC Defensive Player of the Year.
WSU received 215 points and 10 first-place votes to headline the poll. Minnesota State University, Mankato held down the No. 2 spot with 213 points and five first-place votes, while Minot State was tabbed third with the final first-place vote and 190 points.
Bemidji State, which garnered 157 points in the poll, finished the 2012 season with a 10-7-2 overall record and a 8-5-2 mark in league play to finish sixth in the final NSIC.
The Beavers officially open the 2013 campaign Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. when they host Missouri Western State University for a nonconference affair. The match begins BSU’s 18-game regular-season schedule and is slated to be the first soccer game ever played at BSU’s Chet Anderson Stadium, which is currently undergoing a surface renovation to install field turf.
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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).