Concordia University-St. Paul was picked to finish first in the NSIC with 15 first-place votes and 225 overall points.

    The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball program was selected 13th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Tues., Aug. 7 by the conference office. The Golden Eagles received 50 votes in the poll.

    Concordia University-St. Paul was picked to finish first in the NSIC with 15 first-place votes and 225 overall points. The Golden Bears have won nine NCAA Division II National Championships in the last 11 seasons. Southwest Minnesota State University was selected second in the preseason poll with 210 points and one first-place vote. Taylor Reiss, the 2017 AVCA Division II Player of the Year, was picked as the NSIC Preseason Player of the Year.

    Minnesota Crookston enters their second season under Head Coach Sarah Rauen as they open the 2018 campaign. The Golden Eagles are looking to improve on a 7-21 (4-15 NSIC) mark. The Golden Eagles must replace seven graduating seniors, including All-NSIC Second Team pick Kassi Green. Minnesota Crookston returns two starters in Callie Schapekahm (Sr., MH, Eagan, Minn.) and Kaitlin Sikkink (R-Jr., MH, St. Charles, Minn.). Ali Schueler (R-Jr., DS/Lib., Howards Grove, Wis.) is also experienced having started 11 games in the back row for the Golden Eagles in 2017. Minnesota Crookston will have to rely on several young players in 2018, but they are excited about the group they have after a strong spring season. The Golden Eagles also added five newcomers to the squad, who will look to compete for jobs for the 2018 season.

    Schapekahm was picked as the Player to Watch for Minnesota Crookston. Schapekahm returns as a starter at middle hitter. She started all 28 matches for the Golden Eagles. Schapekahm averaged 1.28 kills per set in 2017, along with 0.54 blocks per set for Minnesota Crookston. Schapekahm is also a two-time NSIC All-Academic pick, and a Butch Raymond Scholarship Recipient. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA for her entire time in the Maroon and Gold.

    The Golden Eagles are set to open up the season Aug. 24 at the Parkside Hampton Inn Tournament, hosted by University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wis.

Points

1.   Concordia-St. Paul (15)............... 225   

2.   Southwest Minnesota State (1).... 210   

3.   Minnesota Duluth........................ 194   

4.   Northern State ............................. 176   

5.   Wayne State................................. 164   

6.   Augustana ................................... 145   

7.   Winona State .............................. 138   

8.   Upper Iowa ................................. 130   

9.   Sioux Falls................................... 123   

10. Minnesota State........................... 102   

11. St. Cloud State ............................. 89    

12. MSU Moorhead............................ 75    

13. Minnesota Crookston................... 50    

14. University of Mary....................... 40    

15. Bemidji State ............................... 31    

16. Minot State .................................. 28

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