ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Bemidji State University softball team has been picked to finish eighth in the 2008 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Coaches’ Poll, announced today by the league office. For the third straight season, BSU will be starting with a new head coach as Ron Koskie takes over the helm for the 2008 squad.
The league coaches chose BSU eighth with 32 points, three more than last season, and 12 less than seventh-place Upper Iowa University. Bemidji State finished 2007 in eighth place in the NSIC with a record of 4-14, and 10-28 overall.
Southwest Minnesota State tied with Winona State for the regular season championship a year ago, and went on to win the NSIC Tournament. The Mustangs were chosen three points ahead of the Warriors and received seven of a possible 10 first-place votes to take the top spot in this years’ preseason poll. WSU received three first-place votes and was chosen second. SMSU also captured the 2006 regular season title outright, and are the favorites for the three-peat.
Concordia-St. Paul won the 2006 NSIC Tournament, and was picked third with 67 points. The University of Mary was right behind CSP with 66 points, and Minnesota State, Moorhead was picked fifth with 57 points.
Wayne State (56), Upper Iowa (44), BSU (32), Northern State (29) and Minnesota, Crookston (18) round out the 10 schools.
The NSIC also released the 2008 NSIC Players to Watch. The two Beavers that made the list were outfielder Jamie Docken (Sr., Owatonna, Minn.) and pitcher Kristen Paine (Sr., Chisolm, Minn.).
Docken started all 38 games a year ago, and tied for the team lead in home runs with five. She led the team with 21 runs, eight doubles and three triples. Paine had a 5.71 earned run average and went 2-12 last season. She also recorded the lone save for BSU last year and was second on the team in strikeouts with 44.
On the mound, Allison Willard (Jr., Hutchinson, Minn.) was the top hurler notching seven wins and a 5.42 earned run average. She struck out a team-high 61 batters in 103.0 innings pitched.
Bemidji State also returns 2007 NSIC All-Conference Honorable Mention selections second baseman Mara Johnson (Jr., Bemidji, Minn.) and shortstop Bridget Smith (Jr., Burnsville, Minn.).
Bemidji State will open the 2008 season Feb. 22 with a double-header with St. Cloud State. The next two days the Beavers will participate in the Husky Dome Tournament in St. Cloud against teams that will be announced at a later date. The first home games will be played on April 15-16 in double-headers with Minnesota, Crookston and U-Mary, respectively.
2008 NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses)
1 Southwest Minnesota State (7) 87
2 Winona State (3) 84
3 Concordia-St. Paul 67
4 University of Mary 66
5 MSU Moorhead 57
6 Wayne State 56
7 Upper Iowa 44
8 Bemidji State 32
9 Northern State 29
10 Minnesota, Crookston 18
Preseason Co-Players of Year: Erin Dickhausen, Sr., C, R/R, SW Minnesota State
Preseason Co-Players of Year: Meghan Ward, Jr., 2B, R/R, University of Mary
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Amanda Johnson, Jr., R/R, SW Minnesota State