Pictured: Jenny Vetter, Mankato State. Photo Credit: NSIC
The start of Division 2 soccer is just around the corner. Squads are in preseason for the return of the full fall soccer season. Every team is undefeated! My UM-Crookston (Small Campus, Big Degree!) Golden Eagles are tied with the Mavericks of Mankato. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) does an amazing job of producing a full preview of the fall season. That includes beautiful graphics that I am happy to use and credit to them! Here at Equal Time we will focus on the 9 Minnesota NSIC schools and how they fit into the conference landscape.
Preseason Coaches Poll
There aren't a lot of surprises in the preseason coaches poll, based on historical results. Minnesota State-Mankato was a no-brainer at No. 1, but it wasn't unanimous, as Concordia St Paul(4) and Augustana(3) also received first place votes. The Minnesota schools ranked in 1st-Mankato, 3rd-Concordia Stp, 4th-Bemidji State, 5th-St Cloud St, 7th-Winona, 9th Southwest MN St, 11th-UMD, 12th-Moorhead State, 16th-UMC (Go Golden Eagles). As a reminder, Mankato has won 4 NSIC Tournaments in a row, so it is certainly a game of "queen of the hill" right now.
Players to Watch
The NSIC Coaches chose both a Conference Offensive and Defensive Player of the year, and they also picked and Offensive and Defensive player for each squad. Given her 20 goal output in the last full season (2019) where she was named Central Region player of the year, it was no surprise to see Jenny Vetter of Mankato picked as Preseason Offensive Player of the year. Jenny scored those 20 goals in 24 games. It'd be wild but not shocking to see her score a goal a game this year.
Photo Credit: NSIC
The NSIC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year is Megan Dahl of Bemidji State. Megan has twice been on the All NSIC teams, leading the defense for a Bemidji State Beaver squad that surely believes they can challenge for the Conference title. I like that Megan wears number 9, seemingly to mock the fowards that she is locking down?
For the Minnesota in the NSIC beat, I will plan to write a weekly recap of scores/stats, and whatever stories we can find to highlight. I will also be hosting video/podcast interviews with former BSU and NSIC star Rachel Norton. D2 soccer is somewhat new to me, so bringing in someone who knows the game, yet is retired as a college athlete, so she may speak freely about the experience! Rachel will join me next week, potentially with a player guest, to preview the year and help me get a sense for NSIC Soccer.
Watching NSIC Games
Our NSIC teams are in preseason as I mentioned, so check out your local teams schedule for some soccer over the coming week. One interesting game for Minnesota soccer is Mankato taking on newly Division 1 St Thomas tomorrow, August 20, at St Thomas.
In the regular season that kicks off in September, there tends to be at least 1-2 games that are available to stream, so I'm eager to utilize that as well as getting to some games in person.
See the full NSIC Women Soccer Release here: https://northernsun.org/news/2021/8/10/2021-nsic-womens-soccer-preseason-coaches-poll.aspx
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