SMSU SOCCER: SMSU picked to finish 16th in preseason poll

BURNSVILLE – The Southwest Minnesota State University soccer team was picked to finish 16th in the annual Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll that was released on Thursday.

Minnesota State was selected as the preseason favorite to win the conference finishing the voting with 220 points and 12 first place votes. Bemidji State finished second in the voting with 206 points and two first place votes. Augustana and Minot State each earned one first place vote with Augustana selected third overall with 194 points, while Minot State earned 189 points. Concordia-St. Paul rounded out the top five with 156 points.

SMSU, under the direction of fourth-year head coach Erin Kasmarik-Mallett, is coming off of a 1-16 season in 2017 with a conference mark of 1-14.

SMSU has 24 players on the 2018 roster and welcomes back 14 letter winners from a year.

Mustang junior forward Alli Miskowiec and junior defender Morgan Darner, were tabbed as “Players to Watch” for SMSU. Miskowiec is the team’s top returning scorer after recording five points on two goals and one assist in 2017, while Darner has started every game the last two seasons.

The Mustangs will play an exhibition game on Aug. 18 at Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) before facing St. Ben’s in a home exhibition game on Aug. 22.

SMSU opens the regular season on Aug. 30 taking on Washburn (Kan.) in Fayette, Iowa. SMSU opens conference play on Sept. 7 at Sioux Falls and will have its regular season home opener on Sept. 21 versus Northern State.

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