Nov. 12, 2012
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The Western Washington University women's soccer team meets UC San Diego in the West Regional championship game of the NCAA Division II National Tournament on Friday (1:30 p.m. MT), Nov. 16, at Auraria Field on the campus of host Metro State in Denver, Colo.
Metro State and Colorado Mines play at 11 a.m. for the South Central regional title.
The regional winners meet Sunday (12 noon), Nov. 18 in a national quarterfinal for a berth in the final four at Evans, Georgia, on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1.
The West Regional title contest matches WWU's best post-season run since becoming a full NCAA member in 1998. The Vikings also reached the regional final in 2008, losing 1-0 in overtime to Seattle Pacific at Kirksville, Mo.
WWU, ranked No.23 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NCAA II Top 25, are 19-3, the win total being a school record.
The Vikings advanced to Friday's title game with a pair of 2-1 overtime wins in first and second round games at Rohnert Park, Calif. They defeated Cal Poly Pomona and host Sonoma State, the region's No.1 seed and 10th ranked nationally.
Junior forward Kristin Maris (Issaquah) scored the game winner, her team-leading ninth goal, in the 103rd minute against Sonoma State on Sunday, and freshman forward Stephanie Hamilton (Orting/Bellarmine Prep) ended the Cal Poly Pomona contest last Friday in the 109th minute with her third goal of the campaign.
The extra-minute contests were the first this season for WWU.
WWU, the No.5 seed, earned an automatic berth at regionals by winning the championship at the first Great Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament. The Vikings defeated Montana State Billings 2-0 in the title game following a 2-0 semifinal victory over Western Oregon.
WWU was the No.1 seed at the GNAC tourney after winning the league's regular-season championship with a 12-2-0 record.
Sixteen of the Vikings' 19 wins have been shutouts as they have outscored the opposition 46-7. During one stretch they had a school and GNAC-record scoreless string of 919 minutes and 29 seconds, ninth longest in NCAA II history.
WWU senior goalkeeper Jamie Arthurs (Richland), the GNAC Player of the Year, has set school and GNAC records for shutouts in a season (16) and career (39). She ranks second nationally in goals against average at 0.31.
With just seven goals allowed and 63 saves in 2,010 minutes and 59 seconds, her save percentage of .900 is fourth nationally. Her GAA, save percentage and shutout total all led the GNAC.
Arthurs 16 shutouts this season are one short of the NCAA II record held by three players, her solo shutout percentage of 72.7 is near national record pace and her 39 career shutouts are tied for sixth nationally with the record being 46.
WWU, coached by Travis Connell (10th year, 121-58-19), is led offensively by Maris, freshman forward Catherine Miles (Anacortes), senior midfielder Joana Houplin (Olympia) and junior defender Brina Sych (Vancouver/Union). Maris has nine goals, which include a team-high five game winners, and five assists; Miles eight goals and seven assists, Houplin six goals and two assists, and Sych five goals and five assists.
Maris was named MVP of the GNAC Tournament. Sych is the GNAC's Defensive Player of the Year and Miles the league's Freshman of the Year.
Arthurs, Maris and Sych were all named first-team conference all-stars. Sych was unanimous and Arthurs a repeater. Second-team recognition went to sophomore midfielder Kim Cooper (Bellingham) and sophomore defender Brianna Jones (Bonney Lake). Receiving honorable mention were Miles, Houplin, junior midfielder Ashton Griffen (Duvall/Cedarcrest) and junior defender Kayla Russ (Puyallup/Bellarmine Prep).
WWU leads the nation in save percentage (.900), and is second in both shutout percentage (.727) and GAA (0.31).
UC San Diego, the West Region No.2 seed and ranked No.5 nationally, reached the regional final with a 2-1 overtime win against Seattle Pacific, which handed the Vikings two of their three losses this season.
The Tritons are 15-2-3, winning the California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament championship and have not lost on the road in 11 games (9-0-2). They are led on offense by Cassie Callahan with nine goals and seven assists and their goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky has a 0.57 GAA and eight shutouts.
Metro State, the South Central No.3 seed, upset nationally No.18-ranked St. Edward's TX 2-1 to advance to its regional final. The Road Runners, 15-5-2, are led by Karisa Price with 16 goals and goalkeeper Jordan Simkins with a 0.85 GAA.
Colorado Mines, 17-4-1 and ranked No.15 nationally, is riding a school-record 12-game unbeaten streak after blanking Dallas Baptist, rated No.4 nationally, 3-0.
The Orediggers are paced by Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year Anna Evans with 16 goals and nine assists, and Megan Woodworth with 10 goals and 13 assists. Goalkeeper Jayln Yates, the RMAC Tournament MVP, has a school-record 10 shutouts.
WWU Notes: Freshman forward Jessica Bertucci (Bellingham/Sehome) suffered a season-ending torn ACL in her right knee against Western Oregon on Sept. 13. She had scored a goal in each of WWU's first three wins, two of them game winners, and earned GNAC Offensive POW honors ... Receiving conference defensive POW accolades this season have been Arthurs twice and junior midfielders Sych and Ashton Griffen (Jr., Duvall/Cedarcrest) once each ... Earning an GNAC offensive POW honor was Maris.
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