2012 GNAC Women's Soccer Preview
Aug. 15, 2012
PORTLAND, Ore. - Seattle Pacific has won or shared eight of the last 10 Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's soccer titles and has made nine straight NCAA West Region playoff appearances.
Coach Chuck Sekyra's team is once again the favorite to win the conference title receiving all eight votes in the annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference poll.
The Falcons outpointed Western Washington 64-55 in the balloting. Montana State Billings finished third with 44 points and Central Washington earned a fourth-place ranking with 41 points.
Whoever finishes fourth this fall will earn a post-season nod as the conference will hold a tournament for the first time to determine the conference champion and its automatic berth in the regionals.
Hoping to break into the top four and qualify for the tournament are Western Oregon, Simon Fraser, Saint Martin's and Northwest Nazarene, which came in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the balloting.
The four-team event will be held Nov. 1 and Nov. 3 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
Sekyra has led Seattle Pacific to a 167-19-14 record over the past nine seasons including a 17-3 mark last year.
Megan Lindsay, who was a third team National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American and the GNAC's leading scorer last season, is back to lead the Falcons.
Lindsay had 32 points last season, including a GNAC-best 12 goals and eight assists.
The top four scorers from last season all return including Jaucelyn Richter and Heidi Greenback, both of Montana State Billings, and Carson McKole of Central Washington.
Richter and Greenback netted 27 and 23 points, respectively, and McKole had 21.
Also back are the conference's two leading goalies - Jamie Arthurs of Western Washington and Natalie Harold of Seattle Pacific.
Arthurs posted a 0.55 goals against average and recorded 11 shutouts. Arthur has 23 career shutouts, just eight off the GNAC record of 31 held by WWU's Teresa Fish (2003-05, 07).
Harold carved out a 0.62 GAA last season and posted three shutouts.
Lindsey, Richter, McKole and Arthurs were all first-team all-stars last year. Also back after grabbing first team honors last season was Lindsay Bauman of Western Oregon.
The Wolves were the most improved team in the conference last season under first-year coach Steve Anchetta, posting its best conference record since 2002.
Simon Fraser will be entering its 25th season, all under Shelley Howieson, and hopes to rebound from a two-win season.
Saint Martin's returns the most letter winners in the GNAC (18) including a league-best 10 starters. Northwest Nazarene also returns 10 starters.
SEATTLE PACIFIC Falcons
While Megan Lindsay (5-7, Sr., Spokane, WA - Gonzaga Prep) is back for the Falcons, their losses were not insignificant as SPU graduated GNAC Player-of-the-Year Kelsey Jenkins and also lost Kellie Zakrzewski and All-American defender Taylor Sawyer.
Zakrzewski ranked second on the team in scoring with 24 points (10 goals, 4 assists). Also graduating was Brandi Hamre, who had six goals and five assists.
The Falcons do return four all-stars including Lindsay, who had four game-winning goals to tie Hamre and Central Washington's Carson McKole for the conference lead.
Joining Lindsay on the all-conference team last season were midfielders Riley Dopps (5-5, So., Port Orchard, WA - South Kitsap) and Brittany Langdon (5-10, Sr., Irvine, CA - Northwood) and forward Ali Martin (5-5, So., Beaverton, OR - Jesuit). All three were honorable mention selections.
Dopps ranked fifth on the team in scoring with 13 points (5 goals, 3 assists), the second most among the returning players. Martin had four goals and three assists and Langdon scored one goal.
Martin and Langdon earned their accolades in part-time starting roles.
Among SPU's 14 returning letter winners, only six players - Lindsay, Dopps, midfielder Annie Thomas (5-5, So., Lake Stevens, WA) and defenders Josie Graybeal (5-7, Jr., Gig Harbor, WA) and Mackenzie Laird (5-4, Jr., Danville, CA - San Ramon Valley), and goalkeeper Natalie Harold (5-3, Jr., Vancouver, WA - Heritage) - made 10 or more starters.
Laird scored three goals and had four assists. Graybeal contributed two goals and three assists, while Thomas had a goal and an assist.
Harold had a 0.62 goals against average and had three shutouts and a 9-2 won-loss record in her 11 starts.
Other players who saw significant playing time last season include forward Heather Young (5-4, So., Lacombe, Alberta), midfielders Demi Waitley (5-9, So., Coronado, CA) and Arden Matro (5-5, So., Honolulu, HI - Kalani) and defenders Alexa Diaz (5-4, So., Burien, WA - Kennedy), Stephanie Harold (5-3, Jr., Vancouver, WA - Heritage) and Kendyl Prosser (5-5, So., Gig Harbor, WA - Life Christian).
Young had three goals and one assist, while Waitley scored one goal and Matro had one assist.
Among Seattle Pacific's newcomers are forward Kayloe Winston (Jr., Pasco, WA), who was the NWAACC East Region MVP at Walla Walla CC, and goalkeeper Alexa Hughes (So., Everett, WA - Marshall), who redshirted last season.
WESTERN WASHINGTON Vikings
If, as the saying goes, defense wins championships, it could be a great year for Western Washington.
Last season the Vikings allowed just 11 goals, and goalkeeper Jamie Arthurs (5-8, Sr., Richland, WA) posted a 0.55 goals against average and tied a school record with 11 shutouts.
Arthurs is one of eight returning players who started at least eight games in 2011.
And WWU coach Travis Connell (102-55-19, 9 years), who needs four wins to tie for the school's all-time lead in victories, says defense will be a centerpiece for the Vikings in 2012.
"We've graduated some important players, but we learned a lot in the spring," said Connell. "We will be strong defensively. We're well-organized and athletic. We have players who played a lot last season and have gelled together well."
Arthurs was a first-team all-GNAC pick last season, and enters the season with a scoreless streak of 476 minutes. She has 23 career shutouts and a career GAA of 0.69, both of which rank second in school history.
In front of Arthurs is a back line that all saw extensive action last season, led by Brina Sych (5-6, Jr., Vancouver, WA - Union), an honorable mention all-GNAC selection last year.
Sych notched four goals and two assists for 10 points, the most of any returnee.
Katherine Miccile (5-7, So., Kent, WA - Kentlake), who started 15 games and had one assist, returns at left back, while Kayla Russ (5-7, Jr., Puyallup, WA - Bellarmine Prep) and Brianna Jones (5-8, So., Bonney Lake, WA) return at center back.
Russ started nine games last season after making 12 starts as a freshman, and Jones started 12 contests last season in her freshman year, getting three assists.
In the midfield, Kim Cooper (5-1, So., Bellingham, WA) returns after earning honorable mention all-GNAC status as a freshman.
Ashton Griffen (5-4, Jr., Duvall, WA - Cedarcrest) also figures to start after seeing action in 14 games last year.
In the midfield Joana Houplin (5-3, Sr., Olympia, WA) returns after having two goals and tying for the team lead with four assists, but is recovering from minor knee surgery.
Up front, Kristin Maris (5-9, Jr., Issaquah, WA) returns as the primary target forward. She has scored four goals each of the last two seasons.
Taylor Abrass (5-6, So., Mercer Island, WA), who figures to start on the right, had a goal and two assists last year, and Anna Geldenhuys (5-7, Jr., Bellevue, WA - Sammamish) can play either wide or in the middle.
MONTANA STATE BILLINGS Yellowjackets
Montana State Billings returns a GNAC-leading five 2011 all-stars including forward Jaucelyn Richter (5-5, Sr., Billings, MT), who ranks 18th in GNAC history in points (66) going into her senior season.
Richter, who ranked second in the conference in scoring in earning first team all-league honors, led the Yellowjackets last season with 11 goals and 27 points.
She is not the only offensive threat returning from MSUB's 2011 squad as five of the team's top six scorers return.
Also back is forward Heidi Greenback (5-7, Jr., Woodinville, WA), who ranked fourth in the GNAC in total points with 23 and second in assists with nine. Richter and Greenback, who was a second team GNAC all-star selection, accounted for 18 of MSUB's 35 goals.
Also returning are defender Whitney Siler (5-9, Jr., Monroe, WA) who had eight points (2 goals, 4 assists), defender Jennifer Larsen (5-4, Sr., Mesa, AZ - Mountain View), who had seven points (3 goals, 1 assist) and midfielder Kristen Kastelic (5-9, Sr., Phoenix, AZ - Desert Vista) who had six points (3 goals).
All three players were GNAC honorable mention all-conference selections.
Other returning starters for second-year head coach Wojtek Krakowiak, who guided MSUB to an 11-3-4 record as an interim coach, are defenders Adrienne Biglow (5-5, Sr., 5-5, Sr., Yakima, WA - West Valley), Janae Remsberg (5-5, Jr., Oceanside, CA - Vista) and Jessica Mancilla (5-7, So., Aliso Niguel, CA).
Biglow earned five assists, while Remsberg had one assist.
Also back this season are midfielders Jennifer Johnson (5-6, So,, Wenatchee, WA, 1 goal, 1 assist), Jackie Hill (5-5, Jr., Boise, ID - Borah, 2 assists) and Chelsea Shuman (5-2, So., Kalispell, MT).
Among MSUB's newcomers is midfielder Demi Wignot (5-5, Jr., Helena, MT) who played last season at North Idaho. Wignot's ability to score will make that `Jackets more difficult to defend.
MSUB will also rely on newcomers to replace Danielle Gordon, who played every minute in goal last season.
None of the three keepers on the MSUB roster - Megan Wade (5-8, Fr., East Wenatchee, WA - Wenatchee), Kaylee Kimmett (5-5, So., Billings, MT - Billings West) and Alexandria Johnson (5-7, Fr., Fullerton, CA - El Dorado) have college experience.
CENTRAL WASHINGTON Wildcats
Central Washington is coming off its best season in the 11-year history of the conference and though it has the fewest number of returning starters in the GNAC, head coach Michael Farrand is excited about his team's chances.
"We're good enough to be one of the top four teams in the conference," Farrand said "We're also good enough to be ranked with the Top 10 in the region, and if we do things right we should to able to compete at the end of the year (for the GNAC's automatic berth or for an at-large region berth)."
Among CWU's returning starters is forward Carson McKole (5-2, Sr., Oak Harbor, WA), who ranked fourth in the GNAC in scoring last season with 21 points (9 goals, 3 assists).
McKole will play along side Hadli Farrand (5-8, So., Ellensburg) as CWU will play a new two-forward formation. Last year Hadli played in the midfield and didn't have a goal.
Hadli scored 93 goals in her prep career at Ellensburg and coach Farrand is hoping a formation change will open up the attack more this season.
In addition to McKole and Farrand, the only other returning starters for the Wildcats are midfielder Kelsy Villegas (5-4, Jr., Graham, WA - Graham-Kapowsin) who had one goal and defender Allie Washburn (5-5, Sr., Bremerton, WA - Central Kitsap) .
CWU does return 10 other letter winners who between them combined to make 27 starts, including goalkeeper Kayla Lipston (6-1, So., Federal Way. WA - Decatur), who started six contests and had a 1.12 goals against average.
Lipston played in nine games overall. She is one of two goalkeepers on the Central roster along with redshirt freshman Amanda White (5-5, Maple Valley, WA - Tahoma).
Other returning players include midfielder Danielle Brandli (5-4, So., Bellevue, WA - Interlake), Sydney Coleman (5-3, So., Auburn, WA - Auburn Mountainview), Savanna Moorehouse (5-11, So., Bonney Lake, WA), Taylor Stanley (5-5, So., Mukilteo, WA - Kamiak) and Kindra Scobba (5-3, So., Vancouver, WA - Prairie) and defenders Nicole Laughlin (5-7, Jr., Gig Harbor, WA), Tarah Duty (5-4, Jr., Black Diamond, WA - Tahoma), Jami Marzano (5-2, So., Sammamish, WA - Eastlake) and Zoey Olmstead (5-5, So., West Linn, OR).
Brandli was the team's fourth leading point producer with seven points (2 goals, 3 assists). Coleman contributed two assists. Laughlin had one goal, while Moorehouse, Stanley and Duty each had one assist.
WESTERN OREGON Wolves
Western Oregon had its best conference record in nearly a decade last fall posting a 5-6-3 GNAC mark under first-year coach Steve Ancheta.
Eight starters are back off that team which had a 6-8-4 overall record, including GNAC first-team all-star midfielder Lindsay Bauman (5-2, Sr., Portland, OR - Wilson), who tied for the team lead in goals (3) and was the leader in assists (4).
Midfielder Marina Austin (5-3, Jr., Olympia, WA) also scored three goals and ranked second on the team in points with seven in earning honorable mention all-league honors.
Two other players - midfielders Kym Witmer (5-3, Jr., Newberg, OR) and JoEllen DeLeon (5-2, So., Gresham, OR - Centennial) - were also honorable mention all-conference selections.
Witmer scored two goals and had two assists for the Wolves, while DeLeon was credited with one assist.
Other returning starters include midfielders Taylor Thompson (5-2, Jr., Clackamas, OR) and Chelsy Okuma (5-2, Sr., Honolulu, HI - Kaiser) and defenders Rebecca Hoiland (5-7, Sr., West Linn, OR), Danielle Hayward (5-5, Sr., Salem, OR - South Salem) and Macy Bothman (5-7, Sr., Eugene, OR - Sheldon).
Also back on defense are Erika Oliva (5-2, So., Salem, OR - South Salem) and Julie Garcia (5-4, So., Las Vegas. NV - Arbor View), who played in 14 and 11 games, respectively.
Among the Wolves' newcomers is midfielder Nikayla Caudill (5-4, Jr., Spokane, WA - University) who was a first team NWAACC all-star for CC of Spokane.
SIMON FRASER Clan
Simon Fraser hopes to bounce back from an uncharacteristic 2-12-2 campaign during which it was only able to score seven goals and was shutout out 11 times.
Even with the lack of offense, eight of the Clan's 12 losses were by just one goal.
Coach Shelley Howieson is in her 25th season - she has been the only coach in SFU women's soccer history - and has a 270-115-44 all-time record.
The Clan has 14 players, including seven starters back from last year's club.
Among the returnees are midfielder Lia Marining (5-8, So., North Vancouver, BC - Windsor) and Karm Jawandha (5-6, So., Delta, BC - North Delta), who each scored two goals. Jawandha, who was a part-time starter, led the team in points with five.
Seven players, including Marining made 10 or more starts for the Clan.
They included forwards Jessica Hadden (5-3, Jr., Cloverdale, BC - St. John Brebeuf, 1 goal) and Emma Cruickshank (5-9, So., Maple Ridge, BC) and midfielders Ali Trenter (5-7, So., Coquitlam, BC - Dr. Charles Best) and Tessa Barbour (5-9, So., Burnaby, BC - Burnaby Central).
Also back from last year's starting lineup are defenders Abbey Vogt (5-6, Jr., Burnaby, BC - Burnaby South Central) and Kelsey Atherley (5-9, So., Port Moody, BC).
Other contributors last year included forward Kennedy Borle (5-3, Jr., Calgary, AB - Central Memorial), midfielders Aja Choy-Halo (5-5, So., Nanaimo, BC) and Jessica Marano (5-6, So., Burnaby, BC - Alpha Secondary) and defenders Selina Lynn (5-6, So., Coquitlam, BC - Shattuck St. Mary's), Marissa Di Lorenzo (5-4, Jr., Burnaby, BC - St. Thomas More) and Jenna Piovesan (5-6, So., Burnaby, BC - Notre Dame).
Lynn and Choy-Halo each had one assist last season.
Among the newcomers for the Clan is defender Sage Rinaldo (5-4, So., Vancouver, BC - Burnaby Metro), who previously played at Concordia University in Montreal.
SAINT MARTIN'S Saints
Saint Martin's has a GNAC-high 18 returning letter winners and also returns 10 starters, matching Northwest Nazarene for the most in that category.
The Saints, however, will have to find a way to generate more offense to improve on last year's 4-12-2 record when they scored just 10 goals.
The returning players did account for eight of those goals including two each by midfielders Ashley Richardson (5-3, So., Yakima, WA - West Valley) and Sasha Dini (5-7, So., Tacoma, WA - Stadium) and two by forward Hanna Massee (5-5, So., Gig Harbor, WA).
All three earned GNAC all-conference recognition; Richardson was a second team pick, while Dini and Massee were honorable mention selections.
Also earning honorable mention accolades was defender Molly Campbell (5-8, Jr., Des Moines, WA - Federal Way).
Also back from last year's starting lineup are forward Sammi Thompson (5-8, Jr., Olympia, WA, 1 goal), midfielder Nicole Nedervelt (5-10, Sr., Seattle, WA - West Seattle, 1 goal, 1 assist), Clarissa Strayer (5-6, So., Des Moines, WA - Mt. Rainier, 1 assist) and Nikki Roberts (5-7, So., Tacoma, WA - Stadium, 1 assist), defender Randi Mielke (5-4, So., Lake Stevens, WA) and goalkeeper Ashley Engel (5-9, Sr., Burien, WA - Kennedy).
Engel, who made 11 starts, had a 1.26 goals against average ranking seventh in the GNAC.
Also back in goal is Gina Cardenas (5-10, Jr., Auburn, WA - Auburn Riverside), who started seven games and posted a 1.88 GAA. Cardenas was the starter in 2010 when she recorded a 2.17 GAA.
Other players who participated in 10 or more games last season back include midfielder Kari Inch (5-1, So., Ephrata, WA) and defenders Jessica Christian (5-11, So., Tacoma, WA - Bellarmine Prep) and Lia Swartout (5-5, Sr., Renton, WA - Kennedy).
NORTHWEST NAZARENE Crusaders
Except for defender Jessie Cahill, the Crusader starting lineup returns intact from last year when Northwest Nazarene posted a 4-14 record.
Among the returnees are four players who earned all-league honors including Celina Mortensen (5-7, Jr., Tacoma, WA - Franklin Pierce) who scored a goal and had an assist from her midfield slot.
Mortensen, who was a second team selection, is listed as a forward on this fall's roster.
Also back are three honorable mention selections - forwards Jenny Field (5-6, Jr., Nampa, ID - Skyview) and Autumn Yturbe (5-6, Sr., Buhl, ID) and midfielder Sarah Staropoli (5-2, Sr., Beaverton, OR - Westside Christian).
Field and Yturbe provided 68.4 percent of NNU's scoring (13 of 19 goals) last season. Field led the team and ranked seventh in the GNAC in points with 17 (7 goals, 3 assists), while Yturbe had six goals and tied Field for the team lead in assists with three. Staropoli had two assists.
Other returning starters for coach Jamie Lindvall (43-117-10, 9 years) include forward Erika Kristensen (5-8, Sr., Gresham, OR), midfielders Whitney Wood (5-3, So., Coeur d'Alene, ID) and Julianne Steele (5-6, Jr., Brush Prairie, WA - Hockinson), defenders Andi McCreath (5-8, So., Nampa, ID - Bishop Kelly) and Katie Butler (5-4, Sr., Nampa, ID - Columbia) and goalkeeper Tanya Zickefoose (5-6, Sr., Edmonds, WA - Meadowdale).
Kristensen scored two goals, while Wood and Steele had one each. All three were credited with one assist. Zickefoose, meanwhile, had a 2.18 goals against average and posted three shutouts.
Two other returning players also saw significant action a year ago - forward Sarah Blum (5-8, So., Troy, ID - Moscow) and goalkeeper Monique Ray (5-9, Jr., Middleton, ID).
Macey (McGovert) Vasquez (5-5, Sr., Boise, ID - Capital) returns after sitting out the past two seasons. The defender played in 19 games in 2009.
Among the newcomers for the Crusaders is transfer Kellynn McDaniel (5-3, So., Boise, ID). The defender played in 19 games last season for Regis.
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