Vikings look to rebound from first loss, host MSUB and NNU
Oct. 22, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The nationally ranked and post-season bound Western Washington University women's soccer team plays three of its remaining four regular-season games at home.
That stretch begins this week when the Vikings host Montana State Billings on Thursday, Oct. 24 (3 p.m.) and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday, Oct. 26 (4 p.m.) in a pair of Great Northwest Athletic Conference contests at Orca Field on the Whatcom CC campus.
WWU is 12-1-0 overall, eight of the wins being shutouts, and leads the GNAC standings at 9-1-0. They are 6-0-0 at home.
The Vikings, the defending conference regular-season and tournament champions, already have clinched a berth in the 2013 GNAC Tournament, which begins on Nov. 7.
WWU forwards Catherine Miles (So., Anacortes) and Kristin Maris (Sr., Issaquah) rank one-two among GNAC leaders in points and one-three in goals. Miles has nine goals and three assists for 21 points, and Maris has seven goals and five assists for 19 points. Miles' four game-winning goals lead the conference.
The Vikings' Ashton Griffen (Sr., Duvall/Cedarcrest) is tied with Maris for the conference lead in assists with five.
WWU, which has not allowed a second-half goal this season and has a 34-5 scoring advantage overall, ranks 10th nationally in goals allowed (0.38) and 14th in shutout percentage (0.62). The Vikings are 15th in assists (2.2) and 18th in scoring offense (2.6)
WWU goalkeeper Alyssa Beauchamp (Sr., Vancouver/Mountain View) ranks 15th nationally in goals against average at 0.43 and has a save percentage of .839. She has allowed five goals and has 28 saves in 1,057 minutes.
The Vikings have been without standout defender Brina Sych (Sr., Vancouver/Union) for the last four games because of a knee injury. She earned GNAC Defensive Player of the Week accolades for Sept. 29- Oct. 5 and was a second-team All-American and GNAC Defender of the Year last season.
MSUB, which has lost its last two games, is 4-6-7 overall and 3-6-1 in conference play.
WWU, which won 4-1 at Billings on Sept. 21, holds an 11-3-2 series advantage. The Vikings are 4-0-1 in the last five meetings.
NNU is 1-9-3 overall and 0-7-3 in league action, not having won in its last 10 games (0-7-3).
WWU, which won 3-0 at Nampa on Sept. 19, has not lost to NNU since 2003. The Vikings are 19-0-1 during that stretch and have not given up a goal to the Crusaders in the last seven meetings.
WWU is coached by Travis Connell (11th year, 133-60-19), who was named the GNAC Coach of the Month for September.
The Vikings finished 19-4-0 in 2012, the win total being a school record, and reached the title game of the West Regional.
NOTES: WWU won both the GNAC regular-season and tournament championships last year ... Griffen earned GNAC Defensive POW 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 ... Miles earned GNAC Offensive POW recognition with two goals and an assist in WWU's road wins against Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings ... WWU's 7-0 victory at Simon Fraser, tied the school's most lopsided victory since 2010 (7-0 over MSUB) .. .WWU's 12-0-0 start was the school's best since 1984.
Women's Soccer: Postseason Picture Taking Shape (Oct. 22, 2013)
PORTLAND, Ore. - After completing the upset of the season with a dramatic 1-0 victory over Western Washington last Saturday, Western Oregon is one step closer to solidifying its second consecutive berth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship tournament.
The top four teams in the GNAC standings earn a spot in the postseason tournament, and two schools have already punched their tickets. WWU, which fell to No. 12 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America national poll, remains in first place despite its first setback of 2013, and Central Washington joins the Vikings to represent the first two teams guaranteed spots in the tournament.
With four games remaining, Seattle Pacific sits in third place and needs just one more point to secure a spot, while WOU can guarantee a berth with one more victory.
While not mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, both Montana State Billings and Saint Martin's must win each of their remaining four games and hope for a major collapse by WOU or SPU to have a chance to play in the postseason tournament.
With its conference-leading 10th shutout of the season on Saturday, WOU moved within the top-10 in the NCAA in goals-against average (8th, .336) and shutout percentage (9th, .714). Goalkeeper Amanda Rose Johnson has been the Wolves' rock, ranking eighth across Division II individually in goals-against average at .329, and 11th in save percentage at .895.
WWU remains a top team in the NCAA offensively, ranking No. 18 in scoring offense (2.62), and No. 15 in assists per game (2.15).
RECAP: The first collegiate goal by Mariah Konyn was all the scoring that WOU (8-2-4, 6-2-2 GNAC) needed on Saturday, as the Wolves upset then-No. 2 WWU in Monmouth to prove the Vikings are beatable. Before Konyn's goal on Saturday, WWU (12-1-0, 9-1-0) had not trailed for a single second in more than 1,100 minutes played this season. The Wolves would not have won the match were it not for the exceptional play of goalkeeper Amanda Rose Johnson, whose six saves on Saturday and ability to command balls sent into the box in the air garnered Red Lion Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Central Washington (9-4-0, 8-2-0) kept its hot streak going last week with a pair of 1-0 victories. Reilly Retz converted a penalty kick in each game, the first of which came in overtime against MSU Billings on Thursday and was CWU's first successful penalty kick in two years.
Seattle Pacific (10-4-0, 7-3-0) burst out of a rut with a pair of victories last week. Before Thursday's 2-1 triumph over Northwest Nazarene, the Falcons had lost three of their previous four matches. Freshman Maddie Krauss scored twice in 30 seconds for SPU on Saturday, leading the Falcons to a 3-0 win and earning Red Lion Offensive Player of the Week honors.
With a pair of tough defeats, MSU Billings (4-6-2, 3-5-1) watched as its postseason hopes were nearly stifled last week. The Yellowjackets outshot CWU on Thursday 13-5, but could not find the net in the heartbreaking overtime defeat.
Saint Martin's freshman Kelli Bannerman scored a pair of goals on Saturday to push the Saints to victory. Bannerman has given SMU (4-9-0, 3-7-0) something to smile about in a sub-.500 season, as her team-high seven goals are third most in the GNAC.
Simon Fraser (0-10-2, 0-8-2) put together a comeback effort against SMU on Saturday, but could not find an equalizer after Marissa Di Lorenzo put the Clan on the board in the 72nd minute.
Playing well enough to earn a point in each of its games last week, Northwest Nazarene was twice denied despite a pair of strong efforts. The Crusaders (1-9-3, 0-7-3) came up short in a comeback bid against SPU on Thursday, as they could not back up a Sarah Blum goal in the 68th minute with an equalizer. NNU outshot CWU on Saturday 13-11, but could not find the back of the net as Wildcat goalkeeper Kayla Lipston stopped all six Crusader shots that were on target.
AHEAD: Western Oregon faces arguably the toughest stretch of any GNAC team in its final four games of the season, hosting CWU and SPU this weekend before traveling to play MSU Billings and NNU on the final weekend of the season.
WWU will look to rebound from its first loss of the season with a pair of home games against MSU Billings and NNU, while SPU hosts SMU on Thursday and travels to Monmouth, Ore., on Saturday to challenge the Wolves.
MSU Billings and NNU will look to rebound after tough losses last week, as each faces WWU and SFU on the road.
Great Northwest Athletic Conference
2013 Women's Soccer Report Week 7 (Oct. 22, 2013)
Conference All W L T GF GA Pts W L T GF GA
LAST WEEK: Thursday - Central Washington 1 at Montana State Billings 0 (ot); Seattle Pacific 2 at Northwest Nazarene 1; Western Washington 3 at Saint Martin's 1; Simon Fraser 0 at Western Oregon 2. Saturday - Central Washington 1 at Northwest Nazarene 0; Simon Fraser 1 at Saint Martin's 2; Western Washington 0 at Western Oregon 1; Seattle Pacific 3 at Montana State Billings 0.
THIS WEEK: Thursday - Central Washington at Western Oregon, 3 p.m.; Montana State Billings at Western Washington, 3 pm.; Northwest Nazarene at Simon Fraser, 5 p.m.; Saint Martin's at Seattle Pacific, 7 p.m. Saturday - Seattle Pacific at Western Oregon, 11:30 a.m.; Montana State Billings at Simon Fraser, 1 p.m.; Central Washington at Saint Martin's, 2:45 p.m.; Northwest Nazarene at Western Washington, 4 p.m.
POLLS: NSCAA NATIONAL (Oct. 22) - 12. Western Washington NSCAA West Region (Oct. 22) - 2. Western Washington 7. Seattle Pacific 9. Central Washington.
NATIONAL STATISTICS (TOP 30)
TEAM: Scoring Offense - 18. Western Washington (2.62) Goals-Against Avg. - 8. Western Oregon (.336) 10. Western Washington (.385) 28. Seattle Pacific (.643) Shutout Pct. - 9. Western Oregon (.714) 14. Western Washington (.615) 23. Seattle Pacific (.571) W-L-T Pct. - 8. Western Washington (.923) Save Pct. - 6. Western Oregon (.906) Assists - 15. Western Washington (2.15) 29. Seattle Pacific (1.79).
RED LION PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offense - Maddie Krauss (F, 5-4, Fr., Lake Oswego - Lakeridge) of SPU scored two goals in 32 seconds in SPU's 3-0 road victory over Montana State Billings on Saturday. The freshman forward was instrumental in a 2-1 triumph against Northwest Nazarene as well, which helped the Falcons snap a two-game losing skid and maintain a grip in the top-four of the GNAC standings. "Maddie just had a great week," said Falcon head coach Chuck Sekyra. "She is really coming into her own as a freshman. Her two goals in 32 seconds put the game away against MSU Billings, she also had a role in the build-up and creation of our goals against Northwest Nazarene."
Defense - Amanda Rose Johnson (GK, 5-8, Jr., Montrose, CA - New Mexico Highlands) of WOU recorded her seventh and eighth shutouts of the season in victories over Simon Fraser and No. 2 Western Washington Thursday and Saturday. She made six critical saves versus Western Washington, and took command on numerous balls in the air throughout WWU's persistent aerial assault. Her effort helped WOU hand WWU its first loss of the season, as she was the first goalkeeper to hold the Vikings scoreless in 2013. The junior has blocked 34 of the 38 shots she has faced this season, and leads the GNAC with eight shutouts.
Honorable Mention - Mariah Konyn (M, 5-2, Fr., Eugene, OR - Marist) of WOU scored her first collegiate goal Saturday in the Wolves' 1-0 upset of WWU, striking a ball that rolled to her right foot into the upper left corner of the net in the 44th minute for the game-winner...Kelli Bannerman (F, 5-5, Fr., Ferndale, WA - Ferndale) of SMU brought her season goal total to seven for the year which is good for fifth most in a single-season by a SMU women's soccer player, with a brace on Saturday to help SMU to a 2-1 win over Simon Fraser...Reilly Retz (M, 5-7, So., Kent, WA - Kentwood) of CWU converted a penalty kick in each of the Wildcats' 1-0 victories last week to keep CWU in second place in the standings; Katie Butler (D, 5-4, Sr., Nampa, ID - Columbia) of NNU returned to the field Thursday, after an injury the week before, and played 90 minutes in both games on the weekend for NNU; Natalie Harold (GK, 5-3, Sr., Vancouver, WA - Heritage) of SPU Gave up 1 goal in two games in SPU's 2-1 and 3-0 Road wins, playing all 180 minutes...Kayla Lipston (GK, 6-1, Jr., Federal Way, WA - Decatur) of CWU notched a pair of shutouts as the Wildcats won both matches 1-0.
KONYN STANDS TALL FOR WOU: Listed as the shortest player on Western Oregon's roster at 5-foot-2, Mariah Konyn contributed the Wolves' biggest goal of the season when she put her team ahead of Western Washington in the 44th minute on Saturday. The goal was not only the first of Konyn's collegiate career, but marked the first time WWU had conceded the lead at any point in any game thus far in 2013.
BACK ON TRACK: Seattle Pacific played like its old self last week, notching a pair of victories to get back on the winning side after having dropped three of its previous four contests. The Falcons withstood a comeback effort by NNU on Thursday in a 2-1 victory, then followed Maddie Krauss' two-goal effort to an emphatic 3-0 triumph over MSU Billings on Saturday.
RETZ NETS A PAIR: Central Washington won both of its games last week in 1-0 fashion, and each match featured an identical scoring situation. Sophomore Reilly Retz tucked home a penalty kick in Thursday's 1-0 victory over MSU Billings in the first period of overtime, and then repeated the feat on Saturday against Northwest Nazarene in the first half. Both goals proved to be game-winners, as CWU is the hottest team in the conference with six wins in its last seven games including four straight.
WWU TRAILS FOR FIRST TIME: After more than 1,100 minutes without trailing a match, Western Washington's improbable streak finally ended Saturday at the hands of Western Oregon. Despite out-shooting WOU 16-3, WWU was stumped against the defense that has allowed the fewest goals in GNAC play this season (four).
Brina Sych, the 2012 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, has missed the Vikings' last four games due to an injury.
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT: Montana State Billings suffered a monumental blow to its GNAC tournament hopes last weekend, with a 1-0 overtime loss on Thursday and 3-0 defeat on Saturday. While not mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, MSU Billings would have to win its remaining four games and hope for either WOU or SPU to lose all of their four remaining contests in order for the Yellowjackets to finish in the top four.
Saint Martin's hasn't been officially eliminated from postseason contention, but with just four games remaining it would have to win out and hope for a major collapse by WOU.
BANNER YEAR FOR BANNERMAN: Saint Martin's freshman Kelli Bannerman added two goals to her team-leading figure of seven last week, as the Saints split a pair of contests with WWU and Simon Fraser. Bannerman is now tied for third place in goals scored with WWU's Kristin Maris, and only WWU's Catherine Miles (9) and WOU's Makana Pundyke (8) have more.
KEEPING THEIR TEAMS IN IT: Goalkeeper Amanda Rose Johnson gave the Wolves chances to win both games this weekend as she posted a pair of shutouts. Johnson now leads the GNAC in shutouts with eight, and her goals-against average of .329 per game is the eighth best mark in the NCAA. Johnson was not the only one to keep her team in both games, however, as Kayla Lipston of CWU also notched a pair of shutouts. Lipston made a dozen saves total in the Wildcats' overtime win Thursday and narrow victory on Saturday.
POSTSEASON TAKING SHAPE: Despite its first loss of the season on Saturday, WWU had already punched its ticket to the GNAC championship tournament with its victory on Thursday. The Vikings will continue to battle to hold the top spot in the standings, in search of the No. 1 overall tournament seed. Also clinching a spot in the postseason tournament last week was CWU. The Wildcats are peaking with six wins in their last seven matches, and now sit just three points behind WWU in the GNAC standings.
ON THE BRINK: With four games remaining, Western Oregon is just one win away from clinching a spot in the GNAC championship tournament. The Wolves have won two games in a row, and haven't lost in their last seven matches. The remaining schedule is not easy however, as WOU faces red-hot CWU and SPU this weekend, before closing the season with a tough road trip against MSU Billings and NNU.
Seattle Pacific can clinch a spot in the top four with a draw in its final four matches, as the Falcons look to build on their current two-game hot streak and finish what has been a roller-coaster season strongly.
GNAC TEAM OF THE WEEK: Sept. 2-8 - Simon Fraser (Football) Sept. 9-15 - Northwest Nazarene (Volleyball) Sept. 16-22 - Montana State Billings (Men's XC) and Simon Fraser (Women's XC) Sept. 23-29 - Western Oregon (Football) Sept. 30 - Oct. 6 - Seattle Pacific (Men's Soccer) Oct. 7-13 - Central Washington (Women's Soccer). Oct. 14-20 - Western Oregon (Women's Soccer).
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