Vanessa Shelton and Paige Pettit were picked as Minnesota Crookston’s NSIC Players to Watch.

BURNSVILLE, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston was picked to finish 16th in the NSIC Preseason Soccer Coaches’ Poll released Wed., Aug. 14. The Golden Eagles received 21 points, 20 points shy of Southwest Minnesota State University in 15th place.

    Minnesota Crookston soccer is entering their first season under Head Coach Kyle Halfpop, who comes to the Golden Eagles after three seasons as the assistant coach at University of Sioux Falls. The Golden Eagles are looking to build upon last season as they got stronger as the year went on. Minnesota Crookston went 1-15-2 last season, but they had four games that they lost by just one goal. The Golden Eagles have a strong core with 12 players returning from last season's squad. Minnesota Crookston's leading returning goal scorer is Vanessa Shelton (Jr., MF/F, Tacoma, Wash.), who had one goal and started 12 games last season. The Golden Eagles also return Lindsey Daml (Sr., D/MF, North Pole, Alaska), who has played in the back and as part of the midfield. Daml had one goal last season. Minnesota Crookston returns the most experience in the back line as they bring back Daml, Kiya Gere (So., D, Vancouver, Wash.), Mataya Mierzejewski (So., D, Woodbury, Minn.), and Paige Pettit (Sr., D, St. Michael, Minn.). The Golden Eagles had two shutouts last season. In addition, Minnesota Crookston returns Athena DiMario Done (Jr., GK, Windsor, Ontario), who started 11 games at goalkeeper last season. DiMario Done had a 2.66 goals against average with both shutouts on the season with 104 saves. Minnesota Crookston opens up the season Sept. 13 against Dakota Wesleyan University at 4 p.m., in Crookston, Minn.

    Shelton and Pettit were picked as Minnesota Crookston’s NSIC Players to Watch. Minnesota State University received 12 first-place votes, as they were selected to win the league in the NSIC Preseason Soccer Coaches’ Poll. Augustana was second in the standings after receiving two first place votes. The defending NSIC Regular-Season Champion Bemidji State University were picked third in the poll.

    Dakota Wendell of Minnesota State was selected as the NSIC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Tia Neuharth of Bemidji State was picked as the NSIC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.