Vikings clinch second straight GNAC regular-season title

Kristin Maris

Oct. 31, 2013

Box Score

ELLENSBURG, Wash. - Forward Kristin Maris (Sr., Issaquah) scored in the 83rd minute as nationally ranked Western Washington University clinched a second straight regular-season conference championship with a 2-1 victory over Central Washington University on Thursday afternoon in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's soccer contest at the CWU Soccer Field.

The Vikings, ranked No.11 nationally in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, improved to 15-1-0 overall and lead the GNAC at 12-1-0.

Central, which had a six-game unbeaten string (5-0-1) snapped, fell to 10-5-1 overall and 9-3-1in conference action.

"I'm really proud of these players and to do it here against a team of this caliber on the road is very satisfying," said WWU head coach Travis Connell (11th year, 136-60-19).

The Wildcats had tied the game at 1-1 in the 82nd minute as Danielle Brandli scored her eighth goal of the season. It was the first second-half goal that WWU had allowed all year.

Less than a minute later Maris scored her eighth goal of the fall and third game winner.

"That was a great response," Connell said. "Kristin Maris has been our leader all season. She was on the bench when they tied the game. I immediately put her in the game and she responded with a goal. How could you ask any more than that. She was huge today."

The Vikings' Brianna Jones (Jr., Bonney Lake) scored the game's first goal in the 56th minute.

Getting her GNAC-leading seventh and eighth assists of the season for WWU was midfielder Ashton Griffen (Sr., Duvall/Cedarcrest).

"Both our goals came off corner kicks," said Connell. "The game was played mostly in the midfield. It was tough to create chances and we knew that we had to make the most of our set pieces and we did. Both goals were fantastic balls from Ashton curling in toward the goal. Maris just rose above everyone from about four yards out and headed in her goal."

WWU goalkeeper Alyssa Beauchamp (Sr., Vancouver/Mountain View) made five saves for the Vikings.

"Central had chances and Alyssa came up with two great saves in the second half that kept it close," Connell said. "Maris' heroics would not have happened without Beauchamp's efforts."

WWU led 16-12 in shots and had a 6-3 edge in corner kicks.

Central's goal came on a cross from Meghan Ward that found Brandli who was cutting to the net. Reilly Retz had the lead pass down the sideline to Ward.

WWU closes out its regular season at home, playing host to Simon Fraser on Saturday, Nov. 2 (7 p.m.) on Senior Night at Orca Field on the campus of Whatcom CC.

Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 Ellensburg, Wash., CWU Soccer Field, CWU campus

Western Washington 2, Central Washington 1

Scoring - 1. WWU, Brianna Jones (Ashton Griffen), 55:19; 2. CWU, Danelle Brandli (Reilly Retz, Meghan Ward), 81:35; 3. WWU, Kristin Maris (Griffen), 82:33.

Shots - WWU 16, CWU 12 Saves - WWU 5 (Alyssa Beauchamp 5); CWU 4 (Kayla Lipston 4) Corner kicks - WWU 6, CWU 3 Fouls - WWU 10, CWU 10 Attendance: 312

Next Game: WWU hosts Simon Fraser on Sat., Nov. 2 (7 p.m.) for a GNAC counter