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VOLLEYBALL: Beavers tabbed to finish 15th in NSIC

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State volleyball team was picked to finish 15th out of 16 teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was released Tuesday. The Beavers received 31 points, finishing behind University of Mary (40) in 14th and ahead of Minot State (28) in 16th.

For the second consecutive season, Julie Touchett was selected as the Beavers’ player to watch in 2018. The junior from Verona, Wis., appeared in 27 of 29 matches last year and led the team with a .247 attacking percentage while averaging 1.63 kills per set and finishing second with 62 total blocks. Touchett was also named Academic All-NSIC in 2017.

Julie Touchett

Concordia-St. Paul, the two-time defending national champion and 2017 NSIC regular season champion, was unanimously selected as the preseason favorite to win the conference with 225 points and 15 first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own team). Defending NSIC Tournament champion Southwest Minnesota State was picked to finish second in the league with 210 points and the other first-place vote. Minnesota Duluth was tabbed to finish third with 194 points, Northern State was fourth with 176 points and Wayne State took fifth with 164 points.

SMSU senior Taylor Reiss was named the league’s Preseason Player to Watch for the second straight year.

BSU returns 11 letterwinners from last year’s 3-26 team, including seven upperclassmen.

The Beavers begin the 2018 season Aug. 24-25 with a trip to Wisconsin-Parkside to compete in a non-conference tournament against Purdue Northwest, Saginaw Valley State, Minnesota Crookston and Wisconsin-Parkside.