Vikings one win away from clinching GNAC regular-season title

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Catherine Miles
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Catherine Miles
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Oct. 29, 2013

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Needing one win to clinch a second straight regular-season conference title and the top seed in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament, the nationally ranked Western Washington University women's soccer team travels to Central Washington University on Thursday, Oct. 31 (3 p.m.), and entertains Simon Fraser University on Saturday, Nov. 2 (7 p.m.), at Orca Field on the Whatcom CC campus. The two contests, both league counters, are the last of the regular season.

THE LAST MEETING
Central Washington0
Western Washington2
October 5, 2013
BELLINGHAM
No.2 Vikings blank Central Washington, 2-0
Forward Kristin Maris scored a pair of late goals, lifting nationally ranked Western Washington University to a 2-0 victory over Central Washington University on Saturday in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's soccer contest at Orca Field on the Whatcom CC campus.

THE LAST MEETING
Western Washington7
Simon Fraser0
October 10, 2013
Burnaby, B.C.
No.2 Vikings now 10-0-0 after 7-0 win at Simon Fraser
Catherine Miles had two goals in the first half and Anna Geldenhuys scored a pair in the second period, leading nationally ranked Western Washington University to a lopsided 7-0 victory over Simon Fraser University on Thursday in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's soccer contest at Terry Fox Field on the SFU campus.

The Vikings, who moved up one spot to No.11 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, are 14-1-0 overall and lead the GNAC at 11-1-0. Rated No.3 in last week's first West Region poll, they are 8-0-0 at home.

Central, which lost 2-0 to WWU at Bellingham on Oct. 5, is second in the conference at 9-2-1 (10-4-1 overall) with Seattle Pacific third at 9-3-0 (12-4-0) and Western Oregon fourth at 6-3-3. Those top four teams have already clinched berths in the GNAC tourney on Nov. 7 and 9 to be held at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. The Vikings are the defending champions.

Simon Fraser will be the final regular-season home game for seven WWU seniors. They are goalkeeper Alyssa Beauchamp (Vancouver/Mountain View), midfielder Anna Geldenhuys (Bellevue/Sammamish), midfielder Ashton Griffen (Duvall/Cedarcrest), forward Kristin Maris (Issaquah), defender Diana Pollock (Bellevue/Eastlake), Kayla Russ (Puyallup/Bellarmine Prep), and defender Brina Sych (Vancouver/Union).

WWU has posted 10 shutouts this season and has a 41-5 scoring advantage, not allowing a goal in the second half. The Vikings' only loss was 1-0 at Western Oregon on Oct. 19 (outshot Wolves 18-2 and had 10-3 advantage in corner kicks) after opening the season with 12 games. They were ranked No.2 nationally for four straight weeks during that stretch.

Last week, WWU posted home wins over Montana State Billings, 1-0, and Northwest Nazarene, 6-0.

Forward Catherine Miles (So., Anacortes), who scored three goals during a span of 23 minutes against NNU, was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. She ranks 18th nationally and leads the conference in goals with 12, and is tied for the GNAC lead in game-winning goals with four.

Delanee Nilles (So., Poulsbo/North Kitsap) scored the only goal in the 43rd minute of the Vikings' win over MSUB

Maris and Griffen are tied for second among conference leaders in assists with six each, and Beauchamp, who ranks 11th in goals against average at 0.37, is second in the GNAC in that category as well as save percentage (.872) and shutouts (7.2).

WWU ranks No.6 nationally in goals against average (0.33), No.10 in assists (2.47), No.11 in shutout percentage (0.67), No.12 in save percentage (.878) and No.16 in scoring offense (2.73).

The Vikings lead the GNAC in points (7.93), goals, assists, goals allowed, and GAA, and are second in shutouts.

Central has not lost in its last six games (5-0-1) following a loss at WWU. The Wildcats are led by Savanna Moorehouse with six goals and four assists, and Danielle Brandli with seven goals.

WWU holds a 31-11-6 series advantage and is 9-1-2 in its last 12 meetings with Central.

Simon Fraser, which is at Seattle Pacific on Thursday, is 1-11-2 overall and 1-9-2 in GNAC play. The Clan lost 7-0 to WWU on Oct. 10 at Burnaby, B.C.

The Vikings have not lost in their last nine meetings (7-0-2) with Simon Fraser and have not given up a goal in the last eight of those contests. They have an 18-16-3 series lead.

WWU is coached by Travis Connell (11th year, 135-60-19), who was named the GNAC Coach of the Month for September. He was the NSCAA Far West Region Coach of the Year last fall.

The Vikings finished 19-4-0 in 2012, the win total being a school record, and reached the title game of the Far 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 ... Miles earned her first GNAC Offensive POW award with two goals and an assist in WWU's road wins against Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings ... Sych was the GNAC Defensive POW for Sept. 29- Oct. 5. She was a second-team All-American and GNAC Defender of the Year last season.

Great Northwest Athletic Conference

2013 Women's Soccer Report Week 8 (Oct. 29, 2013)

                     Conference			All
                     W	L	T	GF	GA	Pts	W	L	T	GF	GA

x-Western Washington 11 1 0 35 5 33 14 1 0 41 5 x-Central Washington 9 2 1 20 9 28 10 4 1 22 13 x-Seattle Pacific 9 3 0 21 9 27 12 4 0 30 11 x-Western Oregon 6 3 3 12 5 21 8 3 5 19 6 MSU Billings 4 7 1 13 18 13 5 7 2 15 18 Saint Martin's 3 9 0 12 20 9 4 11 0 16 26 Simon Fraser 1 9 2 6 29 5 1 11 2 7 37 Northwest Nazarene 0 9 3 5 29 3 1 11 3 7 31

x-clinched championship tournament berth

LAST WEEK: Thursday - Central Washington 0 at Western Oregon 0 (ot); Montana State Billings 0 at Western Washington 1; Northwest Nazarene 1 at Simon Fraser 2; Saint Martin's 2 at Seattle Pacific 3 Saturday - Seattle Pacific 1 at Western Oregon 0; Montana State Billings 3 at Simon Fraser 0; Central Washington 2 at Saint Martin's 1; Northwest Nazarene 0 at Western Washington 6.

THIS WEEK: Thursday - Western Oregon at Montana State Billings, 2 p.m.; Saint Martin's at Northwest Nazarene, 2 p.m.; Western Washington at Central Washington, 3 p.m.; Simon Fraser at Seattle Pacific, 7 p.m. Saturday - Northwest Nazarene at Montana State Billings, noon; Saint Martin's at Western Oregon, 1 p.m.; Central Washington at Seattle Pacific, 1 p.m.; Simon Fraser at Western Washington, 7 p.m.

POLLS: NSCAA National (Oct. 29) - 11. Western Washington NSCAA West Region (Oct. 29) - 2. Western Washington 6. Seattle Pacific NCAA West Region (Oct. 23) - 3. Western Washington 6. Seattle Pacific.

NATIONAL STATISTICS (Top 30)

TEAM: Scoring Offense - 16. Western Washington (2.73) Goals-Against Avg. - 6. Western Washington (.333) 9. Western Oregon (.351) Shutout Pct. - 9. Western Oregon (.688) 11. Western Washington (.667) 25. Seattle Pacific (.563) W-L-T Pct. - 6. Western Washington (.933) Save Pct. - 5. Western Oregon (.906) 12. Western Washington (.878) Assists - 10. Western Washington (2.47).

INDIVIDUAL: Points/Gm. - 21. Catherine Miles, WWU (1.8) Goals/Gm. - 20. Catherine Miles, WWU (.8) Assists/Gm. - 13. Alexa Diaz, SPU (.58) Goals-Against Avg. - 8. Amanda Rose Johnson, WOU (.347) 11. Alyssa Beauchamp, WWU (.372) Save Pct. - 7. Amanda Rose Johnson, WOU (.896) 22. Alyssa Beauchamp, WWU (.872) Total Goals - 18. Catherine Miles, WWU (12) 29. Kelli Bannerman, SMU (10) Total Pts. - 24. Catherine Miles (27).

RED LION PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offense - Catherine Miles, Western Washington (F, 5-7, So., Anacortes, WA - Anacortes) notched the second hat trick in the GNAC this season and pushed her conference-leading goal total to 12 on Saturday against Northwest Nazarene. The sophomore needed just 23 minutes to complete the hat trick, scoring all three goals in the second half of a 6-0 victory over NNU that kept the Vikings in first place in the GNAC standings.

Defense - Morgan Wood, Central Washington (M, 5-5, Sr., Maple Valley, WA - Tacoma CC) played 200 minutes on CWU's back line last week, helping the Wildcats earn four points with a win and a draw. On Thursday, the senior helped shut out Western Oregon, and on Saturday she played 90 minutes and limited Saint Martin's to just three shots on goal in CWU's 2-1 victory. Both wins came on the road and helped CWU maintain a grip on second place in the GNAC standings.

Honorable Mention - Kelli Bannerman, SMU (F, 5-5, Fr., Ferndale, WA - Ferndale) scored twice against SPU on Thursday and added a third goal against CWU on Saturday as she was the only Saint to score in SMU's losses last week. Bannerman now leads the team with 10 goals this season, and is the second-leading scorer in the GNAC behind WWU's Miles as a freshman...Reilly Retz, CWU (M, 5-7, So., Kent, WA - Kentwood) notched the game-winning goal against SMU on Saturday, helping the Wildcats to a 2-1 victory and helping her team maintain a grip on 2nd place in the standings...Laura Moore, SPU (F, 5-3, So., Kent, WA - Kentwood) scored with less than a minute remaining in the first half against WOU on Saturday, and her goal would prove to be the game-winner and helped SPU collect a full six points last week...Amanda Rose Johnson, WOU (GK, 5-8, Jr., Montrose, CA - New Mexico Highlands) held Central Washington scoreless through 110 minutes on Thursday for her GNAC-leading 9th shutout of 2013...Brianna Jones, WWU (D, 5-8, Jr., Bonney Lake, WA - Bonney Lake) anchored a Viking defense that recorded a pair of shutouts and picked up six points with two wins to remain in first place.

PLAYOFF BOUND: The field for the 2013 GNAC women's soccer championship tournament became solidified on Thursday, as Western Washington, Central Washington, Seattle Pacific and Western Oregon each clinched berths in the tournament. With the teams determined, the battle for seeding will ensue with SPU just one point behind CWU for second place with two conference games remaining.

VIKINGS RECOVER: A week after its first loss of the 2013 season, WWU collected a pair of shutout victories last week over MSU Billings (1-0) and Northwest Nazarene (6-0). It only took three Vikings to do all of the scoring last week, as Red Lion Offensive Player of the Week Catherine Miles scored a hat trick against NNU on Saturday, and Jessica Bertucci and Delanee Nilles each had a pair of goals on the weekend. Nilles' goal against MSU Billings in the 43rd minute on Thursday proved to be the deciding factor in an otherwise tight matchup.

FALCONS HEATING UP: Since losing to Western Washington on Oct. 12, SPU has won four consecutive contests and is peaking at the right time. SPU found itself in a 2-0 hole on Thursday against SMU, but the Falcons persisted with three second-half goals to simultaneously record the win and dash the Saints' final hope to remain in the playoff hunt. On Saturday, Laura Moore became the first opposing player to score in Monmouth this season as her goal just before halftime was enough for the Falcons to hand WOU its first home loss of 2013.

SAINTS BEATEN FROM BEHIND TWICE: Freshman phenom Kelli Bannerman continued her goal-scoring spree with three more tallies last week for the Saints. Unfortunately, her two goals against SPU and one against Central Washington were not enough as no other Saint scored in the pair of defeats. Bannerman got her team ahead within the first 17 minutes of each match, but watched as SMU relinquished the lead in both games.

CLAN EARNS COMEBACK WIN: Kate Pearsall drilled home the golden goal for SFU in the 100th minute on Thursday as the Clan battled back to collect a 2-1 victory over visiting NNU. It was the first win of 2013 for SFU, and goalkeeper Simone Tessler recorded six crucial saves to give her team a chance for the victory.

ALEXA'S ASSISTS: SPU junior defender Alexa Diaz assisted on three of the Falcons' four goals last week, including both game-winners in the Falcons' pair of victories. Diaz now leads the GNAC in assists with seven, and is averaging .58 per contest.

MILES AHEAD: With the second GNAC hat trick of 2013, WWU's Catherine Miles separated herself atop the conference in terms of total points. The sophomore forward has 27 points and is averaging nearly a goal per contest, with her figure of .80 leading the GNAC. Miles is also tied for the conference lead in game-winning goals with four, a figure matched only by SPU's Moore.

GOAL MACHINES: While Miles has a steady grip on the lead in total points, SMU's Bannerman is the lead challenger in the goals category with 10. The Saint freshman temporarily took over the GNAC lead, as her goal on Saturday came before Miles netted her three scores.

ROCK SOLID: Western Oregon's Amanda Rose Johnson leads the GNAC in goals-against average, shutouts, and save percentage, but WWU's Alyssa Beauchamp is right on her heels in all three categories. Johnson allows .35 goals per contest while Beauchamp sits at .37; Johnson's save percentage is .896 with Beauchamp's at .872, and Johnson has nine shutouts while Beauchamp has seven.

BRINA'S BACK: After missing two weeks with an injury, 2012 GNAC Defender of the Year Brina Sych returned to WWU's lineup last week. Sych has been an instrumental figure on the Vikings' back line over the last three seasons, and did not play in WWU's lone defeat this season at the hands of WOU.

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). Oct. 21-27 - Alaska Anchorage (Cross Country).