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Bemidji St. notebook: NSIC looking at expansion

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference earlier this week took what may be the first step in expanding to a 16-team league.

The NSIC Board of Directors met Monday and voted to consider expanding to 16 institutions in the 2012-2013 academic year.

They requested NSIC commissioner Butch Raymond to solicit potential new members immediately.

Institutions have until June 1, 2010 to submit a letter of interest to the conference office.

The news will likely draw interest from the University of Sioux Falls and Minot State University.

The two schools were granted provisional Division II membership earlier this year and the Northern Sun would provide the ideal geographic fit for the two programs.

For the NSIC member schools, expansion could lead to lower administrative costs and easier scheduling across several sports.

The NSIC grew from a 10-team league to a 14-team league in 2008 by absorbing four schools from the defunct North Central Conference.

The NSIC has schools based in Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The Bemidji State soccer team, 5-2 overall and 1-1 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, hits the road this weekend for a pair of conference clashes.

The Beavers will play at Minnesota-Crookston Friday at 3 p.m. Bemidji State wraps up play at 1 p.m. Sunday at MSU, Moorhead.

Bemidji State is 3-1 in its last four games, the only loss coming 1-0 in overtime to No. 6 ranked Minnesota State, Mankato.

Ashley Ellefsen and Brianna Duff are leading the BSU offense heading into the weekend set.

Ashlee Ellefsen scored two goals in the Sunday game against Southwest Minnesota State. She has 60 career points and is 12 points shy of breaking the school record.

Brianna Duff had an assist against the Mustangs to bring her point total to 16 for the season. She currently ranks second in NSIC points.

The Bemidji State volleyball team is on the road this weekend for a two-game set against Winona State and Upper Iowa.

Bemidji State plays at Winona State Friday night at 7 p.m. and at Upper Iowa Saturday at 4 p.m.

Winona is 4-10 (2-1 NSIC) and Upper Iowa is 9-8 (0-3 NSIC).

Bemidji State enters the weekend 4-9 overall (1-2 NSIC).

The Beavers won their first conference match last Saturday 3-0 at home against Minnesota-Crookston, but lost on the road 3-1 in a rare Tuesday night matchup on the road against Northern State.

The Bemidji State women's hockey team will take to the ice this weekend for an intrasquad scrimmage at 2:00 p.m. at John Glas Fieldhouse.

The Beavers open the 2009-10 season next week on the road at Mercyhurst for a two-game set.

In the WCHA coaches poll released Thursday, Bemidji State was picked to finish eighth in the eight-team league.

Bemidji State's home opener at John Glas Fieldhose is Oct. 11 against Wisconsin.

Soccer goalie Samantha Ross and defensive lineman Jordan Lardinois have been named Beaver Pride Athletes of the Week after outstanding athletic performances during the week of Sept. 14-20.

Ross was instrumental to the Beavers' success over the weekend. She made eight saves against No. 5 Minnesota State University, Mankato to keep the game scoreless through 90 minutes.

Before allowing a goal 7:34 into overtime, Ross set a new school record for most consecutive-scoreless minutes played by a goalkeeper at 523:07. The goal allowed against MSU was her only one allowed this season.

On Sunday, she recorded her third win of the year stopping three Southwest Minnesota State shots on goal in 45 minutes played.

Lardinois was a vital in BSU's defense in last week's win over MSU, Moorhead, which held the Dragons to minus-11 yards rushing.

He posted a season-high five tackles (four solo), four of which were for a loss of 18 yards, while rolling up a pair of quarterback sacks. Lardinois also recovered a fumble and returned it six yards to set up a scoring drive to put BSU up 17-3 late in the first half.