WWU hosts CSUSB in West Regional final of NCAA II Tournament

Kristin Maris

Nov. 18, 2013

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Hoping that the third time is a charm, Western Washington University hosts Cal State San Bernardino in the West Regional final of the 2013 NCAA Division II National Women's Soccer Championships on Friday, Nov. 22 (7:30 p.m.), at Orca Field on the Whatcom CC campus.

The Vikings, ranked No.9 nationally in last week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NCAA Division II Top 25, are the No.2 seed in the West Region. They enter the contest with an 18-1-1 record and are 10-0-0 at home after defeating Seattle Pacific, 2-0, in a second-round game on Saturday, Nov. 16.

No.4 seed CSUSB is 12-6-4, advancing with a 1-0 win in overtime against top seed and nationally No.5-ranked Cal State Stanislaus (18-1-2), which had won both the California Collegiate Athletic Association regular-season and tournament titles. The Roadrunners had beaten Cal Baptist in an opening-round game which needed a penalty kick shootout following a 0-0 overtime tie.

The winner of the WWU vs. CSUSB contest advances to the national quarterfinals on Sunday, Nov. 24 (2 p.m.), also at Orca Field, against the winner of the South Central Regional championship game between No.5 seed Metro State CO (14-4-3) and No.3 St. Edward's TX (18-0-2) on Friday, Nov. 22, at 5 p.m.

Last year, the Vikings advanced to the regional final at Rohnert Park, Calif., before losing 2-1in overtime to eventual national runner-up UC San Diego. WWU also reached the regional title game in 2008, losing 1-0 in overtime to Seattle Pacific at Kirksville, Mo.

WWU earned a regional berth after winning a second consecutive Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season title (13-1-0) and reaching the title game at the GNAC Tournament. The Vikings opened their season with 12 wins and were ranked No.2 nationally for four straight weeks before losing 1-0 on Oct. 19 at Monmouth, Ore.

Offensively, WWU ranks 17th nationally with a 2.65 goals per game average. It is led by senior forward Kristin Maris (Issaquah), named 2013 GNAC Player of the Year, and sophomore forward Catherine Miles (Anacortes). They rank one-two among GNAC leaders in points at 1.35 and 1.55, respectively.

Maris was the only unanimous pick on the GNAC all-star team, being named for the second straight year. She has 10 goals, including three game winners, and seven assists this season. She is ninth in WWU history in career goals with 27 and tied for seventh in assists with 18.

Miles, who earned GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors three times this season and was the GNAC Freshman of the Year last fall, tops the conference in goals with 14, and is tied for the GNAC lead in game-winning goals with four.

Another WWU first-team all-star is midfielder Kim Cooper (Jr., Bellingham), who has two assists, and midfielder Ashton Griffen (Sr., Duvall/Cedarcrest) has a GNAC-leading 11 assists (ranks No.11 nationally), just one short of the WWU record.

The Vikings have a 52-8 goal advantage with 12 shutouts and a goals against average of 0.40, which is eighth in NCAA II.

Leading the defense for WWU are junior Brianna Jones (Bonney Lake), this year's GNAC Defensive Player of the Year and senior Brina Sych (Vancouver/Union), the 2012 GNAC defender of the year.

Goalkeeper Alyssa Beauchamp (Sr., Vancouver/Mountain View) leads the GNAC and ranks No.11 nationally in GAA at 0.44 and is second in shutouts (8/4).

Besides being No.10 nationally in GAA (0.40), WWU is No.7 in assists (2.55), No.12 in shutout percentage (.600), No.17 in scoring offense (2.65) and No.24 in save percentage (.855).

The Vikings lead the GNAC in points (7.85), goals, assists, goals allowed, and GAA, and are tied for the top spot in shutouts.

WWU is coached by Travis Connell (11th year, 139-60-20), who was named GNAC Coach of the Year for the third time.

CSUSB is led by Kiana Quarles with team-high seven goals, four of them game winners; Jasmine Williams, who has four goals, three of them game winners, and five assists; and Carissa Kutkowski with three goals and team-best seven assists.

Goalkeeper Chelsey Jones has a 0.65 goals against average and 13 shutouts for coach Travis Clarke (5th year, 49-35-12, 8th overall, 78-62-13).

CSUSB ranks No.14 nationally in shutout percentage (.591), No.24 in GAA (0.69) and No. 27 in save percentage (.852).

Metro State, located in Denver, Colo., upset nationally No.2-ranked Colorado Mines, 3-1, in second-round action Monday. That snapped a 34-game winning streak by the Orediggers (19-1-1), the fifth longest in NCAA II history.

The Roadrunners, coached by Adrianne Pietz (5th year, 94-25-15), are led by Abby Rolph with eight goals, five of them game winners, and a team-high 10 assists (ranks No.25 nationally, 0.48); Brandi Farley with a team-best nine goals; and Karisa Price with eight goals.

Metro State is making its 12th consecutive national appearance, the longest active streak in NCAA II. The Roadrunners won the national title in 2006.

St. Edward's, located in Austin, ranked No.10 nationally, played to a 1-1 overtime tie with Metro State on Sept. 13. The Hilltoppers, who won their sixth Heartland Conference title, are making their seventh national appearance, and reached the regional final with a 1-0 overtime win at Fort Lewis CO.

St. Edward's, coached by Nick Cowell (8th year, 347-108-32), are led by Lauren Heller, who has team-leading totals of 10 goals and nine assists, Megan Anderson with nine goals and three assists, Rachel Murray with seven goals and seven assists, Cailyn Trapani with seven goals and seven assists, and goalkeeper Danielle Licarione, who ranks No.5 in GAA at 0.26.

The Hilltoppers rank N.4 nationally in scoring offense (3.24) and assists (2.(), sixth in GAA (0.32), and seventh in shutout percentage (.714).

WWU has not beaten CSUSB in three previous meetings (0-2-1) or Metro State in two previous meetings (0-1-1). The Vikings have never faced St. Edward's.

NOTES: The Vikings finished 19-4-0 in 2012, the win total being a school record. They won both the GNAC regular-season and tournament championships that season ... Griffen earned GNAC Defensive POW honors for her effort in a 1-0 win at No.3 UC San Diego ... Miles received her first GNAC Offensive POW award of the season with two goals and an assist in WWU's road wins against Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings. Her second honor came after scoring three goals in 23 minutes versus Northwest Nazarene ... 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.