Volleyball Picked 14th in NSIC Preseason Poll
The University of Sioux Falls volleyball team is a preseason pick to finish fourteenth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference this season, according to the coaches of the league.
"Although we could forsee this kind of placement in our first season with the NSIC, we aren't going to place a lot of stock into a prediction of where the Cougars will finish this season before the competition begin," second-year head coach Joel McCartney said.
The announcement of the NSIC's preseason poll and preseason NSIC Player of the Year were both made late Thursday afternoon.
"I am sure the NSIC coaches had a very difficult time trying to figure out where the new programs would finish in a league where we have not yet played a match," he added.
The Concordia University, St. Paul Golden Bears were picked to finish first for the ninth consecutive season. The Golden Bears have won the past five NCAA national titles and received all 15 first place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own team). Concordia junior Kayla Koenecke was the coaches' choice for NSIC Preseason Player of the Year.
Minnesota Duluth finished second in the preseason poll, edging out Southwest Minnesota State by two points, 202 to 200. Wayne State (183) and Minnesota State (166) rounded out the top five. Augustana placed sixth with 151 points, just ahead of MSU-Moorhead who were voted seventh with 146 points. Winona State was picked eighth and Northern State ninth with 125 and and 101 points, respectively. Upper Iowa's 95 points placed the Peacocks in tenth and Minnesota, Crookston was picked No. 11 (81 points). St. Cloud State was voted twelfth (77 points), Bemidji thirteenth (59 points) and USF was picked No. 14 (41 points) in their first season competing in the NSIC. The University of Mary and Minot State tied for fifteenth and rounded out the list with 34 points each.
Senior outside hitter Chanda Goedken was named as USF's "Player to Watch" this season.
"The conference office asked me to highlight a player for the pre-season watch list and I immediately thought of the impact Chanda had on our program last year," McCartney said. "Her senior season should be a great memory as she helps lead us towards our first conference finish."
In McCartney's first year as head coach, the Cougars finished 3rd in the Locos Grill Division II Transitional Tournament and closed out the 2011 campaign by winning seven of their last ten matches. USF finished with a 15-27 overall record last season.
This season, however, the Cougars will rely upon the help of ten new student-athletes that have joined the program.
"With ten new athletes joining the eight returners, our team won't even be recognizable... let alone predictable to a certain degree among the other NSIC teams," McCartney added.
USF begins preseason practice next week. They'll open the 2012 season at the Dakota Wesleyan Labor Day Classic on Aug. 31 when the Cougars face Jamestown College. USF opens NSIC play at Minnesota State, Mankato on Sept. 14 before hosting Minnesota-Duluth on Sept. 21