Bemidji State picked 12th in NSIC Preseason Volleyball Coaches' Poll
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Bemidji State picked 12th in NSIC Preseason Volleyball Coaches' Poll
BURNSVILLE, Minn. - Bemidji State University was picked 12th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Volleyball Coaches’ Poll for the second-consecutive season. The Beavers finished the 2010 season with a 12-16 (6-14 NSIC) mark which placed them in a tie for 10th place in the final conference standings. In his second year at the helm of the BSU program, Wayne Chadwick will be tasked with replacing seven players from the 2010 squad including six seniors, all of whom played a vital role in the Beaver rotation in Chadwick’s first season.

The 2011 squad returns six players from last year’s squad and will be reliant on a group of 10 newcomers to fill the void of the outgoing players. The returnees are led by BSU’s Player to Watch selection by the NSIC this season, Bethany Thompson (Jr., OH, Owatonna, Minn.). Thompson was second in kills to All-NSIC Honorable Selection Nicole Olson. She totaled 217 kills on the year and held a .167 hitting percentage. Thompson tallied 68 digs (0.78 d/s) on the season with a .895 receive percentage. She logged a season-high 15 kills on October 15 versus Winona State, which placed her fifth on BSU for kills in a match. She had 46 attempts against Upper Iowa, which ranked second on the team in total attempts for the season and notched 41 attempts versus MSU Moorhead Nov. 5, which ranked third on the team in total attempts in 2010.

Thompson is joined by seniors Kimberly Hacker (MB/RS, Hutchinson, Minn.) and Jessi-Beth McCannell (S, Brandon, Manitoba) and junior Laura Carlson (Libero, Hutchinson, Minn.) as returnees who should have a major impact for BSU this season. Carlson will look to fill the void at libero vacated by Bemidji State’s all-time digs leader Brie Groskreutz. Carlson served as a defensive specialist for the Beavers in 2010 tallying 223 digs. BSU’s returnees will be joined by 10 newcomers led by the 2010 Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association Class AA Player of the Year Courtney Volkmann (Fr., S, Wadena, Minn.). The newcomer gives the Beavers versatility at the setter position with a proven returner in McCannell and capable newcomer in Volkmann. In addition to Volkmann, fellow Wadena-Deer Creek High School products Kelsi Crawford (Fr., OH/DS, Wadena, Minn.) and Rachel Craig (Fr., MB, Wadena, Minn.) should also see the court this season along with Kelly Niles (Fr., OH/MB, Grand Rapids, Minn.). Several other new faces will also have a chance to contribute to Bemidji State’s rotation in 2011.

Four-time defending National Champion Concordia University, St. Paul was selected first in the NSIC Preseason Volleyball Coaches’ Poll for the eighth consecutive season. The Golden Bears received 169 points including 13 first place votes. Southwest Minnesota State finished second in the poll with 146 points and the other first place vote. Bemidji State received a total of 41 points in the poll.

Concordia-St. Paul senior outside hitter Megan Carlson was selected as the NSIC Preseason Player of the Year. Last season, as a junior Carlson was an AVCA First Team All-American and NCAA All-Tournament Team (Regional and National). She was one of the best all-around players in the NSIC, leading CU in serve receive (.962) while finishing second on the team in digs with 436 and fourth in kills with 322.

Bemidji State will open the 2011 season on September 2 and 3 at the University of Sioux Falls Tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D. with matches against South Dakota School of Mines, Minot State University, University of Sioux Falls and Black Hills State University.

Team (First Place Votes)
 1  Concordia-St. Paul (13)
 2  SW Minnesota State (1)
 3  Minnesota Duluth
 4  Wayne State
 5  Minnesota State
 6  Augustana College
 7  MSU Moorhead
 T8  St. Cloud State
 T8  Winona State
 T10  Northern State
 T10  Upper Iowa
 12  Bemidji State
 T13  University of Mary
 T13  Minnesota, Crookston