KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A program record five Bemidji State University soccer players have been recognized by the United Soccer Coaches’ organization for outstanding play in 2017. Senior Miranda Famestad and junior Rachael Norton were selected to the United Soccer Coaches All-Central Region First Team, while senior Catherine Arneson and junior Dani Nelson earned a spot on the all-region second team and freshman Allyson Smith was placed on the third team.
The BSU contingent joins 11 other players hailing from Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference institutions, which includes Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Abby Nordeen and Alesha Duccini, who joined Famestad and Norton as first team selections.
Famestad, a First-Team All-NSIC selection and reigning NSIC Defensive Player of the Year was also named to the Division II Conference Commissioners Association Women’s Soccer All-Central Region First Team at the conclusion of the season. She anchored a BSU defensive unit that surrendered just 10 goals overall and seven goals in league play to rank second in the NSIC. She led a unit that posted 12 shutouts in 20 matches, which included a 377:18 shutout streak to open the season. In all, the BSU defense allowed just 213 shots in 20 matches (10.65 spg) and 98 (4.9 sogpg) shots on goal. The BSU back line protected a goalkeeping duo that ranked second in the league in goals allowed (0.50) and goals allowed average (0.48). Offensively, the senior was sixth on the team in scoring with three goals and a career-high two assists for eight points, logging 1,484 minutes, while starting 19-of-20 BSU contests in 2017 to sit fourth on the team.
In 76 appearances as a Beaver, the Sioux Falls, S.D., native logged 14 goals and three assists for 33 points.
Norton, a native of Mounds View, Minn., led the team and all NSIC players in points (38), points per game (2.11), goals (14), goals per game (.778), assists (10), assists per game (.556) and game-winning goals (6) in 2017. She finished the regular season among the top 10 in all of Division II in assists per game, while she was in the top 20 in both points and goals. In NSIC play, she posted a league-high 33 points, 12 goals and nine assists, while she was third with five game-winning goals. She matched Beaver greats Katie Meinhardt for the program’s single-season record for points, and Sarah Stram’s 2015 single-season record for game-winning goals and is second on the Beavers’ single-season assist list. For her efforts she was also named as the NSIC’s Offensive Player of the Year, earned First-Team All-NSIC honors and was selected to the D2CCA All-Central Region First Team.
After three seasons, she is already tied for fourth on BSU’s all-time goals scored list (29), is fifth on BSU’s all-time assists list (18), fourth in program history in career game-winning goals (9) and her 76 points places her third on BSU’s all-time scoring list.
Arneson, who was named 2017 NSIC Goalkeeper of the Year was also an All-NSIC First Team selection. She made 14 appearances as a senior, going 8-1-3 in 12 starts and 1,195 minutes in goal. The Fort Collins, Colo., native finished the regular season fourth in the NSIC in goals against average (.0.52), second in save percentage (.889) and fourth in shutouts (6). She ranked among the nation's top goaltenders in goals against average and save percentage all season and finished the season seventh in save percentage (.900) and 15th in the country with a goals against average of .527. The senior opened the season with a 626:41 shutout streak, not allowing her first goal until her eighth appearance of 2017 and led a goalkeeping duo that was second in the league in goals allowed (0.50) and goals allowed average (0.48).
She finished her senior season second on BSU’s single-season save percentage list, while her six shutouts tie her for third and her eight wins place her seventh. She leaves BSU third all-time in career goals against average (0.99) and shutouts (10), fourth in career save percentage (.850) and wins (20), and seventh all-time in saves (159).
A Second-Team All-NSIC selection and Second-Team D2CCA pick, Nelson finished 2017 third on the team in scoring with 16 points. Her six goals and four assists both stood as career highs. Of her 34 shots, 21 landed on goal to place her third on the team in both categories. As a midfielder, Nelson also served as the quarterback of a BSU offense that averaged 2.25 goals per game and allowed just 0.50 to rank second in the NSIC in both categories, while BSU was third in the NSIC averaging over eight shots on goal per game and managed 314 shots (15.70 spg).
In 59 appearances for BSU, the Woodbury, Minn., native has nine goals, eight assists and 26 points.
Smith, the first BSU freshman to earn the NSIC’s Freshman/Newcomer of the Year Award also becomes the first Beaver rookie to be named to an all-regional team. The Brainerd, Minn., native, was second on the team with nine goals, including three game-winners, nine assists and 27 points. She was second in the league with nine assists and 0.50 assists per game, while she was third in the NSIC in points (27), points per game (1.50), goals (9) and goals per game (0.50). In addition, she ranked second in the NSIC averaging 3.67 shots per game.
Smith’s nine goals tied her for 12th on BSU’s single-season goal scoring list, while her nine assists was good for third and her 27 points is tied for seventh.
At 15-1-4 overall, Bemidji State completed the 2017 regular season as one of four teams in the country with an unbeaten record of 14-0-3 and made a run of five straight weeks ranked in the top 20 of the United Soccer Coaches national poll, including a No. 14 nod the final week of the regular season. BSU finished second in the NSIC with a 12-0-3 mark and made its ninth straight appearance in the NSIC Tournament. After quarterfinal exit, BSU earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, where it dropped a scoreless draw, 5-4 in a shoot out, to Augustana University in the first round.
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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).