Coach Sarah Rauen enters her first season Kassi Green a ‘Player to Watch’

    The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball program was picked to finish 12th in the 2017 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Thursday.

    Defending NCAA Division II National Champion Concordia University-St. Paul was picked as the league favorite as they were slotted first with 10 first-place votes and 218 overall points.  Southwest Minnesota State University came in close at second with three first-place votes and 202 overall points, while University of Minnesota Duluth was one point back at 201 points and two first-place votes as they were picked third.

    Taylor Reiss, an outside hitter from Southwest Minnesota State, was picked as the NSIC Preseason Player of the Year.

    Minnesota Crookston enters their first season under Head Coach Sarah Rauen in 2017. Rauen comes to the Golden Eagles after spending the last four seasons as an assistant coach at North Dakota State University.

    The U of M Crookston has a strong core returning to the fold with five starters returning to the fray for 2017. The Golden Eagles will look to Player to Watch Kassi Green to lead the way. Green, an outside hitter, averaged 2.13 kills per set and hit .133 as a redshirt junior in 2016. Minnesota Crookston also returns her identical twin Kelci Green, who will anchor the middle for the Golden Eagles. Kelci Green tallied 2.13 kills per set and hit .324 on the season. She led the team with 0.78 blocks per set. In addition, redshirt senior outside hitter Maggie Perrel returns. Perrel led the team with 3.50 kills per set as a redshirt junior. The Golden Eagles also return libero Ali Schueler and middle hitter Callie Schapekahm as starters.

    Minnesota Crookston will look to improve upon their 10-18 mark last season. The Golden Eagles tallied a 6-14 conference mark last season led by a key conference victory over Minnesota State University-Mankato.

    The Golden Eagles will commence the 2017 season at the South Central Classic in Durant, Okla. Sept. 1-2. The U of M Crookston will play matches against University of Central Missouri, Southeastern Oklahoma State, Southern Nazarene University and Ouachita Baptist University. Minnesota Crookston opens practice for the 2017 season Aug. 14.