ST. PAUL -- The Bemidji State University soccer team was selected to finish eighth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Soccer Coaches Poll.
The poll was released Wednesday and the Beavers received 85 points.
The soccer team finished ninth last season after going 12-7-1 (5-7-1 NSIC). Defending NSIC Tournament champion MSU, Mankato was picked as the preseason favorite.
"I think it's a compliment that the other coaches in the league picked us eighth and that they see us as a tournament team," head coach Jim Stone said. "There's so much competitiveness in our conference and there isn't much difference in the level of play between the third through ninth placed teams."
Senior forward Jamie Ford and junior keeper Samantha Ross were selected as players to watch for Bemidji State.
Ford was named third team all-conference after netting 11 goals last year. Ross finished the season with 97 saves, third most in NSIC competition.
The Beavers also kicked off the 2009 season Wednesday taking the field in the first two-a-day practice.
"It was fun to get out on the first day with our girls and it was nice to see that we have talented freshman and that the incoming players can give us a boost immediately," Stone said.
The Beavers will head out of town Thursday for a preseason camping trip. While camping the team will conduct training exercises and build team camaraderie.
Next week the team will conduct two-a-days with sessions at 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3-7 p.m.
The Bemidji State soccer team returns all but four members from last year's squad and welcomes five newcomers.
The 2008 Beaver squad became the first team in school history to go undefeated in non-conference action (7-0) and they finished the year with a 12-7-1 record, tying the school record for most wins in a season. It was the fourth time in the last five years the team hit the double-digit win mark.
The soccer team opens up play Aug. 27 at Wisconsin-Parkside.
The first home game of the year will be Sept. 11 when the Beavers host to Jamestown College.
NSIC Preseason Soccer Poll
1 Minnesota State (11) 167
2 Winona State (3) 159
3 Augustana 134
4 Minnesota Duluth 130
5 University of Mary 126
6 St. Cloud State 105
7 Northern State 98
8 Bemidji State 85
9 Upper Iowa 82
10 Concordia-St. Paul 58
11 MSU Moorhead 51
12 Southwest Minnesota State 34
13 Minnesota, Crookston 23
14 Wayne State 22
(First place votes in parentheses)