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Conference Play Ramps Up With Battle For First Place
Head coach Clint Schneider has his Simon Fraser team ranked No. 1 in Division II heading into the month of October.
Head coach Clint Schneider has his Simon Fraser team ranked No. 1 in Division II heading into the month of October.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: No. 1 Simon Fraser posted a 1-0 victory over Concordia last week, but it was Cavaliers goalkeeper Grant Alcorn who stole the show.

The GNAC Defensive Player of the Week recorded 13 saves and faced 26 shots while only allowing one goal against the top team in Division II. The 13 saves was both a career high and a season-high among all GNAC teams.   

FIRST PLACE ON THE LINE: A battle between the conference's co-leaders headlines this week's slate as the Clan travel to Nampa to face Northwest Nazarene.

Clint Schneider's team enters the week with a 7-0-0 record away from home, but something will have to give as the Nighthawks have yet to drop a match in GNAC play. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at NNU Field on Thursday afternoon.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

OFFENSE
Gillaume Kremer
(Montana State Billings, M, 5-7, Senior, Metz, France)

Kremer scored three goals in two matches for the Yellowjackets. He scored the game-tying goal in the 50th minute of MSUB’s 3-2 loss to Seattle Pacific on Thursday and then tallied a pair of unassisted goals in the 44th and 82nd minutes to keep things close in a 4-2 loss to Northwest Nazarene.

Also Nominated: Titus Grant (Seattle Pacific), Drew Barker (Western Washington).

DEFENSE
Grant Alcorn
(Concordia, GK, 5-10, Senior, Vancouver, Wash.)

Alcorn finished with 15 saves in a pair of tough road matches. He recorded a career-high 13 saves on 26 total shots in a 1-0 loss on Thursday at No. 1 Simon Fraser. He then added three more saves in a 2-0 loss at Western Washington on Saturday.

Also Nominated: Brandon Wolter (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC

CONCORDIA
• Concordia went 0-2 in a pair of challenging road matches last week.
• The highlight came in a one-goal loss to No. 1 Simon Fraser in which the Cavaliers were in the match for all 90 minutes despite getting out-shot by a tally of 26-1.  
• Goalkeeper Grant Alcorn recorded 13 saves in the contest and picked up GNAC Defensive Player of the Week honors in the process. The senior is ranked 47th nationally for saves made with 38.
• Concordia returns to the pitch for a pair of matches this week. The team will host Saint Martin’s on Thursday before heading east to face Montana State Billings on Saturday afternoon.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings netted four goals but suffered a pair of defeats in its two matches to end the month of September.
• The Yellowjackets best shot at a victory came on Thursday in Billings against Seattle Pacific. The team overcame an own goal 56 seconds into the second half to grab a 2-1 lead but would ultimately fall in a 3-2 decision.  
• The close losses put an end to a streak of five positive results in six matches for MSUB.
• It was a banner week for midfielder Guillaume Kremer, who was named the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week after scoring a trio of goals in the two matches. Both of his strikes on Saturday against first-place Northwest Nazarene came unassisted.  
• Montana State Billings stays at home this week for two more matches, part of a five-game homestand for the club. The Yellowjackets will host Western Washington on Thursday and Concordia on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene finds itself in a tie for first atop the GNAC table after rolling off three straight wins to start conference play.
• Both of last week’s victories came away from NNU Field as the Nighthawks picked up an overtime victory at Saint Martin’s and a 4-2 decision at Montana State Billings.
• Forward Rafael Junqueira entered the week as GNAC Offensive Player of the Week and picked up right where he left off, scoring three goals in two matches.
• The matches capped a stretch of six of seven contests played away from Nampa. The team will now play four of its next five at home.  
• A showdown with No. 1 Simon Fraser awaits Northwest Nazarene on Thursday, while Western Washington will come calling for a 4 p.m. kickoff on Saturday.

SAINT MARTIN'S
• Saint Martin’s finished its fifth week of play with an 0-2 mark.
• Both of the defeats came by one goal, first in overtime against Northwest Nazarene and then two days later to visiting Seattle Pacific. It was defender Sebastian Navarro who tallied both of the team’s goals last week, singlehandedly keeping his team in the NNU match in the process.
• Goalkeeper Griffin Small tallied seven more saves over the week to bring his total to 46 on the season. The senior leads the GNAC in that category and is currently ranked No. 26 nationally.
• Just one match is on tap for the Saints this week as they travel to Portland on Thursday night for a date with Concordia. The match will mark the team’s first away contest since Sept. 10.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific bounced back last week, recording a pair of road victories against Montana State Billings and Saint Martin’s.
• The Falcons exploded for three goals in a 3-2 win against the Yellowjackets on Thursday. Sophomore Titus Grant evened the match at 2-2 late in the second half before a 90th minute strike from defender Chris Cole allowed SPU to escape with the victory.
• Seattle Pacific returns home for a pair of matches this week. It will play its final non-conference game of the season against Mary (N.D.) on Thursday before stepping back into GNAC play against No. 1 Simon Fraser two days later.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser sits on top of the table and is still ranked No. 1 nationally after finishing week five with a 1-0 record. The team also tops the United Soccer Coaches West Region rankings and now sits at 9-0-0 on the season.
• Last week featured its stiffest GNAC test yet as Concordia only allowed one goal in the Clan’s 1-0 victory. The team’s offensive attack was ferocious, unleashing 26 shots to the Cavaliers’ one.
• The SFU defense was nails again, however. Goalkeeper Luciano Trasolini posted his sixth clean sheet of the season in the win, which has him ranked inside the No. 5 in Division II.
• Offensively, forward Matteo Polisi has led the way for SFU. The sophomore is in the top-10 in D-II for points (26), goals (9) and assists (8).
• Simon Fraser will look to stay hot in the third week of GNAC action as it hits the road for a pair of matches. First up is a date with conference co-leader Northwest Nazarene on Thursday followed by a trip to Seattle Pacific on Saturday night.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington snapped its two-match losing streak with a shutout victory against Concordia on Saturday.
• Midfielder Drew Barker put his team in front with a 17th minute goal and Teagan Eldridge came off the bench to net some insurance with a strike early in the second half. The 2-0 scoreline would hold as goalkeeper Brandon Wolter made two saves on 10 shots in the victory.
• The shutout was Wolter’s third of the season, placing him at No. 32 nationally in that category.
• Midfielder Georg Cholewa’s 11 points in 2018 leads the team through nine matches. Forwards Drew Farnsworth and Stephen Jinneman are in second place, totaling five points on two goals and one assist.
• A four-match road trip begins this week with two matches for the Vikings. The stretch will start Thursday afternoon at Montana State Billings, and from there the team will go to Nampa to face first-place Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

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