Vikings sweep top GNAC awards for 2013

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Kristin Maris - GNAC Player of the Year
Kristin Maris - GNAC Player of the Year

Nov. 5, 2013

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Western Washington University swept the top awards with forward Kristin Maris (Sr., Issaquah) being named Player of the Year, Brianna Jones (Jr., Bonney Lake) selected Defensive Player of the Year, and Travis Connell earning Coach of the Year as the 2013 Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-star team was announced Tuesday, Nov. 5, by the conference office.

Maris, who was a first-team pick for the second straight year, was the lone unanimous choice on the squad. She has 10 goals, tied for second in the GNAC, and six assists. Her 27 career goals rank ninth among WWU all-time leaders and she is eighth in assists with 17.

Jones leads a defense that ranks seventh nationally in goals against average (0.35) and No.12 in shutout percentage (0.65). The Vikings have allowed just six goals, only one in the second half, and have posted 11 shutouts. They have not allowed more than one goal in a game this season.

The GNAC Coach of the Year honor is the third as women's coach for Connell, who has a 137-60-19 record in 11 seasons at the WWU helm. He also was honored in 2008 and 2012.

It is the sixth GNAC coaching award overall for Connell, who was honored in 2002, 2007 and 2008 while directing the WWU men's program.

In all, the Vikings had four first-team GNAC all-stars. Besides Maris and Jones, they included forward Catherine Miles (So., Anacortes) and midfielder Kim Cooper (Jr., Bellingham).

Miles, who earned GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors three times this season, ranks 14th nationally and leads the conference in goals with 13. She is tied for the GNAC lead in game-winning goals with four.

Cooper had two assists while breaking up plays defensively and distributing the ball offensively.

WWU defender Brina Sych (Sr., Vancouver/Union), who was a first-team pick in 2012, was a second-team all-league choice. She has one goal and five assists this season.

Five Vikings received honorable mention. They were forward Elise Aylward (Fr., Renton/Lindbergh), midfielder Ashton Griffen (Sr., Duvall/Cedarcrest), midfielder Delanee Nilles (So., Poulsbo/North Kitsap), midfielder Stephanie Hamilton (So., Orting/Bellarmine Prep) and defender Katherine Miccile (Jr., Kent/Kentlake).

Griffen has a GNAC-leading 10 assists, two short of the school record; Aylward has two goals and five assists, Nilles four goals and two assists, and Hamilton one goal and five assists.

WWU, 16-1-0 overall and ranked No.10 nationally, won its second straight GNAC regular-season title with a 13-1-0 record. The Vikings are the No.1 seed at the GNAC Tournament which gets underway Thursday, Nov. 7, when they face Western Oregon at 7 p.m. at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

Great Northwest Athletic Conference

Women's Soccer: WWU's Maris, Jones Earn Player of the Year Awards (Nov. 5, 2013)

PORTLAND, Ore. - Western Washington senior forward Kristin Maris was awarded Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's soccer player of the year, while teammate Brianna Jones earned Defensive Player of the Year and Travis Connell earned Coach of the Year as the Vikings swept the top conference awards.

After tying Maris for second-most goals in the conference with 10, Saint Martin's freshman Kelli Bannerman received GNAC Freshman of the Year honors.

Transfer Amanda Rose Johnson of Western Oregon led the conference with nine shutouts, earning her the GNAC Newcomer of the Year award.

Joining Maris on the first team at the forward position was teammate Catherine Miles, who led the GNAC in goals scored this season with 13. Western Oregon's Makana Pundyke scored nine goals to earn first team honors as well.

WWU had the top vote getter at all three field positions, as midfielder Kim Cooper made the first team as well. Central Washington's Savanna Moorehouse and Danielle Brandli also earned first-team All-GNAC honors in the midfield, as the duo combined to score 15 of the Wildcats' 24 goals this season.

Laura Moore led Seattle Pacific with eight goals scored as a sophomore, giving her the nod to the All-GNAC first team. At the position of defense, it was Central Washington senior Tarah Duty who had a team-high six assists and Western Oregon senior Becca Hoiland who joined WWU's Jones on the first team.

WOU's Johnson was the first team goalkeeper, as her team allowed just one goal at home all season.

Montana State Billings senior Heidi Greenback garnered second-team All-GNAC honors after leading her team with seven goals this season. Teammate Chelsea Shuman joined Greenback on the second team, as the midfielder's assist total of four co-led the Yellowjackets.

Bannerman represented Saint Martin's on the second team, while Northwest Nazarene's Kelsey Martin and Seattle Pacific's Demi Waitley were the other forwards on the squad.

Three total Falcons earned second team honors, as junior midfielder Alexa Diaz and sophomore defender Shayla Page were each key factors to SPU's success.

NNU also had three players on the second team, as seniors Katie Butler and Lauren Kuklenski represented the Crusaders along with Martin.

WOU's JoEllen DeLeon also received second team All-GNAC honors at the midfield position.

Ten total players from WWU gave the Vikings the most All-GNAC honorees, as repeat selection Ashton Griffen was amongst five Vikings earning honorable mention.

Three Central Washington players earned All-GNAC honorable mention, led by sophomore repeater Reilly Retz who scored three goals this season for the Wildcats.

Simon Fraser senior Yva Rodriguez received the nod to the All-GNAC honorable mention team, as did Saint Martin's senior defender Sammi Thompson.

Western Oregon's Mariah Konyn and WWU's Elise Aylward earned honorable mention, joining Martin and Bannerman as the only four freshman to earn All-GNAC recognition.

A total of 12 sophomores received All-GNAC honors, with three on the first team and one earning second-team mention.


First Team: Forwards - +*Kristin Maris, WWU (Sr., Issaquah, WA); Catherine Miles, WWU (So., Anacortes, WA); Makana Pundyke, WOU (So., Kula, HI). Midfielders - Kim Cooper, WWU (Jr., Bellingham, WA); Savanna Moorehouse, CWU (Jr., Bonney Lake, WA); Laura Moore, SPU (So., Kent, WA); Danielle Brandli, CWU (Jr., Bellevue, WA). Defenders - Brianna Jones, WWU (Jr., Bonney Lake, WA); Rebecca Hoiland, WOU (Sr., West Linn, OR); *Tarah Duty, CWU (Sr., Black Diamond, WA). Goalkeeper - Amanda Rose Johnson, WOu ( Jr., Montrose, CA). +Unanimous *First Team repeater

Second Team: Forwards - Kelli Bannerman, SMU (Fr., Ferndale, WA); Heidi Greenback, MSUB (Sr., Woodinville, WA); Demi Waitley, SPU (Jr., Coronado, CA); Kelsey Martin, NNU (Fr., Salem, OR). Midfielders - Alexa Diaz, SPU (Jr., Burien, WA); JoEllen DeLeon, WOU (Jr., Portland, OR); Lauren Kuklenski, NNU (Sr., Colorado Springs, CO); Chelsea Shuman, MSUB (Jr., Kalispell, MT). Defenders - Shayla Page, SPU (So., Sammamish, WA); Brina Sych, WWU (Sr., Vancouver, Wa); Katie Butler, NNU (Sr., Nampa, ID). Goalkeeper - Kayla Lipston, CWU (Jr., Federal Way, WA).

Honorable Mention: Forwards - Hadli Farrand, CWU (Jr., Ellensburg, WA); Elise Aylward, WWU (Fr., Renton, WA); Alisa Sagdahl, MSUB (So., Edmonds, WA). Midfielders - Ashton Griffen, WWU (Sr., Duvall, WA); Karm Jawandha, SFU (So., Delta, BC); Delanee Nilles, WWU (So., Poulsbo, WA); Emma Holm, SPU (So., Kirkland, WA); Jackie Hill, MSUB (Sr., Boise, ID); Reilly Retz, CWU (So., Kent, WA); Mariah Konyn, WOU (Fr., Eugene, OR); Ashley Shaw, SPU (So., Seattle, WA); Kari Inch, SMU (Jr., Ephrata, WA); Stephanie Hamilton, WWU (So., Orting, WA). Defenders - Sammi Thompson, SMU (Sr., Olympia, WA); Taylor Hauck, SPU (So., Lynwood, WA); Morgan Wood, CWU (Sr., Maple Valley, WA); Yva Rodriguez, SFU (D., Port Coquitlam, BC); Brooke Steinberg, WOU (Jr., Bellingham, WA); Katherine Miccile, WWU (Jr., Kent, WA). Goalkeeper - Natalie Harold, SPU (Sr., Vancouver, WA).

GNAC Player of the Year - Kristin Maris, WWU GNAC Defensive Player of the Year - Brianna Jones, WWU GNAC Freshman of the Year - Kelli Bannerman, SMU GNAC Newcomer of the Year - Amanda Rose Johnson, WOU GNAC Coach of the Year - Travis Connell, WWU