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VOLLEYBALL: Bemidji State picked 15th in NSIC coaches poll

BEMIDJI — Following a rough 2013 season, the Bemidji State volleyball team has some work to do in 2014.

Head coach Wayne Chadwick’s Beavers were selected to finish 15th out of 16 teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in a poll conducted by conference coaches and released Tuesday.

League coaches also picked senior setter Courtney Volkmann as BSU’s player to watch for 2014. Volkmann, a senior from Wadena, was BSU’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year in 2014 and posted a career-high 879 assists, led team in hitting percentage (.218) and service aces (27) and finished second on team with 244 digs.

BSU also finished 15th out of 16 in 2013, going 6-22 overall and 2-18 in the conference. The finished ahead of last-place University of Mary, who went 4-23 overall and 1-19 in the conference.

Coaches have picked BSU and U-Mary to finish in similar placed for 2014, behind 13th-place Minot State and 14th-place Upper Iowa.

Picked to finish first once again was seven-time defending NCAA champion Concordia-St. Paul. The Golden Bears received all but one of the 16 first place votes in the poll, while second-place Minnesota-Duluth received just one first-place votes. Southwest Minnesota State and Northern State were picked to finish third and fourth in the league, respectively.

Coaches have picked Concordia to finish first for 11 consecutive seasons; the Golden Bears have either won the league outright or shared the league title every year since 2003.