WWU blanks Western Oregon, 2-0, in GNAC Tournament opener
Nov. 1, 2012
TUKWILA, Wash. - Western Washington University advanced to the championship game of the first Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Tournament with a 2-0 victory over Western Oregon University on Thursday at the Starfire Sports Complex.
The Vikings, who improved to 16-3-0, meets Montana State Billings (13-5-1) in the championship game on Saturday (2 p.m.), Nov. 3. The winner earns the GNAC's automatic berth in the West Regional of the NCAA Division II National Tournament on Nov. 8-10.
MSUB upset nationally No.21-ranked Seattle Pacific (14-3-2), 1-0, in Thursday's other semifinal.
"We were a little tight maybe because of the moment at the beginning of the game, but that worked itself out quickly," said WWU coach Travis Connell (10th year, 117-58-19).
"Maris was a real force tonight. She was very energetic, covered a lot of ground, got to a lot of balls and scored a good goal. She helped us get through that first part of the game."
WOU, which finished 8-10-1, lost to the Vikings for the third time in as many meetings this season, all by 2-0 scores.
WWU opened the scoring in the 13th minute as forward Kristin Maris (Jr., Issaquah) scored from the top of the penalty area for her team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Midfielder Delanee Nilles (Fr., Poulsbo/North Kitsap) added an insurance marker for WWU in the 70th minute, scoring her fifth goal of the season off an assist from Catherine Miles (Fr., Anacortes). It was the team-leading seventh assist of the year for Miles.
Viking goalkeeper Jamie Arthurs (Sr., Richland), the GNAC Player of the Year, had four saves, preserving the shutout with a pair of stops off Nikki Caudill in the 85th minute.
The shutout was a school and GNAC-record 15th of the season and 38th of her career for Arthurs, who entered the game leading the NCAA II nationally in goals against average at 0.28.
"Delanee (Nilles) scored a great goal in the second half and Jamie (Arthurs) was her usual steady self in the back. She had to make one really nice save and she was excellent on crosses all day. It was an efficient performance for us."
WWU got the tourney's No.1 seed by winning the regular-season GNAC title with a 12-2 record.
The Vikings have beaten MSUB in both of their regular-season meetings, 2-0 and 3-0.
Thursday, November 1, 2012 Starfire Sports Complex/Tukwilla, WA
Western Washington 2, Western Oregon 0
Shots - WWU 13, WOU 11 Saves - WWU 4 (Jamie Arthurs 4), WOU 5 (Hillary Lutz 4, Team 1). Corner kicks - WWU 3, WOU 4. Fouls - WWU 12, WOU 9.
Records: Western Washington 16-3-0 Western Oregon 8-10-1
Next Game: Western Washington vs. Montana State Billings at GNAC Tournament Saturday, Nov. 3, 2 p.m., Tukwila, Wash. (Starfire Sports Complex)
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