BURNSVILLE, Minn. — Bemidji State University has been picked to finish 13th in the 2012 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Volleyball Coaches’ Poll announced today by league officials. The BSU volleyball team, under the direction of second-year head coach Wayne Chadwick, finished the 2011 campaign 6-22 overall, while it was 3-17 to finish 12th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate (NSIC).
Chadwick, now in his third season, returns eight players for the coming season led by 2012 NSIC Player to Watch Bethany Thompson (OH, Owatonna, Minn.). A senior outside hitter, Thompson started all 28 matches for the Beavers in 2011 piling up 294 kills (3.06 k/s) on 949 total attacks (.162 attack %), while posting 245 digs (2.55 d/s) with a .935 receive percentage. She led the team in kills, total attacks, kills/set, and point/set (3.42). She logged a career-high 19 kills versus University of Mary Oct. 28 and tallied 50 attempts against University of Minnesota, Crookston Nov. 5. As a junior, Thompson notched a team-best eight double-doubles and tallied five matches with at least 15 kills.
For the ninth consecutive season, five-time defending NCAA Division II National Champion Concordia University, St. Paul took top honors in the coaches’ poll. The Golden Bears received all 15 first-place votes for a total of 225 points to hold a commanding lead over University of Minnesota Duluth was the coaches’ choice to finish second with 202 points. Southwest Minnesota State University came in third at 200 points and corralled the last first-place vote. Bemidji State received 59 points in the poll to finish above NSIC newcomer University of Sioux Falls (41) in 14th place and University of Mary (34) and Minot State University (34), which tied for 15th.
Concordia-St. Paul senior outside hitter Kayla Koenecke was the league coaches’ selection for 2012 Preseason Player of the Year.
The addition of Minot State and Sioux Falls for the 2012 campaign brings the NSIC to 16 teams. The 2012 regular season champion will now be determined by a 20-game league schedule. The top eight teams in the conference standings at the conclusion of the regular season will play in the single-elimination NSIC Volleyball Tournament November 16, 17, 18 hosted by the No. 1 seed. The NSIC Tournament champion earns an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Bemidji State opens the 2012 season Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at the Pittsburg State Gorilla Classic. The Beavers get their 20-match NSIC schedule underway Sept. 1 at Minot State.