WWU moves up to No.2 in national poll, opens four-game home stand
Sept. 24, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Having allowed just one goal, an own goal, in its first five games this season, the unbeaten Western Washington University women's soccer team begins a four-game home stand this week, all of them Great Northwest Athletic Conference contests, beginning with Western Oregon University on Thursday, Sept. 26 (3 p.m.), and Saint Martin's University on Saturday, Sept. 28 (4 p.m.), at Orca Field on the Whatcom CC campus.
Last week, WWU opened defense of its GNAC championship with road victories over Northwest Nazarene, 3-0, and Montana State Billings, 4-1.
Forward Catherine Miles (So., Anacortes) earned GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors with two goals and an assist in the two wins. She leads WWU with nine points, and is tied for team honors in goals and assists with three each.
Last year, Miles was named GNAC Freshman of the Year as she led WWU in points with 25 and assists with seven and tied for the team lead in goals with nine. Midfielder Kim Cooper (Jr., Bellingham) received GNAC Defensive POW honorable mention for her play last week.
WWU goalkeeper Alyssa Beauchamp (Sr., Vancouver/Mountain View) has a 0.22 goals against average, with 11 saves in 405 minutes.
WOU is 3-1-2 overall and 1-1-0 in league play, having played its last five games on the road. The Wolves have outscored their opposition, 8-2.
SMU, which is at Simon Fraser on Thursday, is 1-4-0 overall and 0-2-0 in conference action. The Saints have yet to play at home this season.
WWU has a 26-5-0 series advantage over WOU, having won the last 15 meetings. Last year, the Vikings won all three meetings, each by a score of 2-0. WOU's last win in the series was 3-2 at Monmouth, Ore., on Oct. 15, 2005.
The Vikings are 9-2-1 overall against SMU, winning the last four meetings. WWU, coached by Travis Connell (11th year, 126-59-19), won both the league's regular-season and tournament championships in 2012. The Vikings finished 19-4-0, the win total being a school record, and reached the title game of the West Regional.
NOTES: Midfielder Ashton Griffen (Sr., Duvall Cedarcrest) earned GNAC Defensive Player of the Week honors for her effort in a 1-0 win at No.3 UC San Diego, and Jessica Bertucci (So., Bellingham/Sehome), who scored the winning goal with just over a minute remaining, received GNAC Offensive POW honorable mention. In the victories the next week over Notre Dame de Namur and Dixie State, defender Brianna Jones (Jr., Bonney Lake) received GNAC Defensive POW honorable mention.
Great Northwest Athletic Conference
Women's Soccer: WWU, SPU Ranked, Win Streaks Reach Five
PORTLAND, Ore. - Western Washington (5-0-0, 2-0-0 GNAC) moved from No. 4 to No. 2 and Seattle Pacific (5-1-0, 2-0-0 GNAC) forced its way back into the national rankings at No. 25 as both teams won their first two conference games of the season last week
The lone difference between the two programs came in both teams' first game of the season, as SPU fell to UC San Diego, while WWU pulled off a dramatic 1-0 victory over the California powerhouse in early September.
Since then, both have won five straight games and outscored opponents by a combined score of 22-1. SPU hasn't allowed a goal over the stretch, and the single tally WWU conceded was an own goal last week.
The Vikings are amongst the national leaders in most team offensive categories, highlighted by a microscopic 0.2 goals against average (7th) and three assists per game (8th).
Alexa Diaz represents SPU amongst the individual nationwide statistical leaders, as her four total assists are seventh most and her average of 0.8 per game is sixth best.
Western Oregon's Amanda Rose Johnson ranks 13th in the nation in save percentage, as her .933 mark is the best in the GNAC.
WWU, SPU ESTABLISH COMMAND: The Vikings and Falcons both proved last week that their ranks among the nation's best are deserved.
WWU's offense exploded for seven goals in 3-0 and 4-1 wins over Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings. Leading the offensive charge was Catherine Miles (F, 5-7, So., Anacortes, WA - Anacortes), whose two goals and assist earned her GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
The Vikings spread their scoring throughout the squad with six different players getting on the tally sheet, and five others providing assists.
Despite allowing their first goal of the season - an own goal - the Vikings maintain the best goal differential in the conference as they have outscored opponents 13-1.
SPU achieved the same result as WWU, albeit in much different fashion. The Falcons relied on a single player - Heather Young (F, 5-5, Jr., Lacombe, Alberta - Lacombe Composite) - to score both of their goals in a pair of 1-0 victories over Western Oregon and Saint Martin's.
The Falcons' excellent defense allowed just six total shots on goal in the two games, as GNAC Defensive Player of the Week Shayla Page (D, 5-6, So., Redmond, WA - Eastlake) acted as commander of the back line and helped keeper Natalie Harold (GK, 5-3, SR., Vancouver, WA - Heritage) reach 450 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.
MSU Billings (2-1-1, 1-1-0 GNAC) began the week with a pair of confidence-boosting 2-0 victories over the University of Mary and Simon Fraser at home, but stumbled on Saturday when the Vikings came to town and rolled to a 4-1 win.
The Yellowjackets will count on Heidi Greenback (F, 5-7, Sr., Woodinville, WA - Woodinville), who scored twice last week, to pace their offense as they head to Washington this week to face SPU and Central Washington in a pair of tough road matchups.
WOU (3-1-2, 1-1-0 GNAC) put forth a valiant effort against SPU last Thursday, but fell victim to Young's 85th-minute game-winning goal. The Wolves have had an encouraging start to the 2013 campaign, as they have outscored opponents 8-2.
The momentum from NNU's and first-year coach Mary Trigg's first win of the season two weeks ago did not carry over, as the Crusaders settled for a 0-0 tie on Thursday despite outshooting SFU 15-6 with five shots on frame. NNU (1-3-1, 0-1-1 GNAC) fell to WWU on Saturday and the Crusaders have scored just two goals in five games thus far.
Danielle Brandli (M, 5-4, Jr., Bellevue, wA - Interlake) made headlines with her two goals against SMU on Thursday, as the Wildcats beat the Saints in Lacey, Wash. The luck ran out for CWU (2-3-0, 1-1-0 GNAC) on Saturday however, as Steven Ancheta's WOU Wolves put nine of their 12 shots on frame and grabbed the 1-0 victory on a 78th-minute goal from Makana Pundyke (M/F, 5-5, So., Kula, HI - Kamehameha).
SFU (0-3-1, 0-1-1 GNAC) is in search of its first GNAC goal of the season, after falling to MSU Billings on Thursday and battling NNU tough for 120 minutes on Saturday to a 0-0 draw.
THIS WEEK: Conference play continues Thursday with all three Washington schools and SFU hosting GNAC opponents.
SPU welcomes MSU Billings on Thursday, and NNU on Saturday as the Falcons will have to beat a pair of tough opponents in order to preserve their winning streak.
WWU hosts WOU and SMU, which went a combined 3-1 last week and pose a legitimate threat towards tarnishing the Vikings' perfect 5-0 record. SFU hosts the same two schools in Burnaby, BC in its first home conference matches of the season.
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