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GNAC Play Continues With Battle Between Top Two Records
Concordia forward Sydney Van Steenberge leads her 10th-ranked team into a battle with Northwest Nazarene this week. The senior has already tallied three goals and one assist this season.
Concordia forward Sydney Van Steenberge leads her 10th-ranked team into a battle with Northwest Nazarene this week. The senior has already tallied three goals and one assist this season.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

One week of conference play in women's soccer is complete as all but one team lifted the lid on their GNAC slates. The league still has a pair of teams (Concordia and Western Washington) inside the top-15 of Tuesday's United Soccer Coaches Division II rankings after the Cavaliers edged the visiting Vikings for a 1-0 victory in Portland on Saturday. 

Northwest Nazarene still owns the best overall record in the conference as the Nighthawks have yet to lose this season. The Nighthawks are off to their best start in program history and will return to the pitch on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. (Mountain) against No. 10 Concordia. 

Elsewhere in the GNAC this week, the sixth-ranked club in the United Soccer Coaches West Region rankings will play its first league matches as Seattle Pacific travels to Saint Martin's on Thursday and Western Washington two days later. And over at Western Washington, the GNAC's other representative in the national rankings will play host to Simon Fraser on Saturday afternoon.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

OFFENSE
Rikki Myers
(Northwest Nazarene, F, 5-7, So., Mill Creek, Wash.)

Myers started Northwest Nazarene’s conference schedule and the Nighthawks’ impressive 5-0-1 start with two goals in a 6-1 defeat of Saint Martin’s on Saturday. After Saint Martin’s scored in the seventh minute, Myers scored the equalizer in the 10th minute and the game-winner in the 34th minute. She later added an assist on Maddy Parton’s goal in the 50th minute.

Also Nominated: Madison Bradley (Central Washington), Gabrielle Ewing (Concordia), Cassidy O’Dell (Montana State Billings), Kylee Sarchett (Saint Martin’s), Jenna-lee Baxter (Simon Fraser), Kennedy Clay (Western Oregon).

DEFENSE
McKenna Stocker
(Concordia, D, 5-6, Sr., Liberty Lake, Wash.

Stocker anchored a Concordia defense that limited Western Washington to four shots on goal in the Cavaliers’ 1-0 win over the Vikings in the re-match between last year’s two GNAC champions. The defender played all 90 minutes as Concordia limited WWU to only one shot on goal in the first half.

Also Nominated: Emily Thomson (Central Washington), Natalie Dierickx (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington went 1-0 last week, grabbing its first win of the season with a clean sheet against Montana State Billings.  
• Three of the team’s four goals were scored by substitutes. What proved to be the game-winner was the only tally provided by a starter, coming off the foot of midfielder Madison Bradley in the match’s sixth minute.
• Goalkeeper Emily Thomson got the win, making five saves in 90 minutes to record her first clean sheet of the season.  
• Central Washington now heads back to Ellensburg for a two-game homestand, beginning on Saturday night against Seattle Pacific.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia finished its first week of conference play in style, going 1-0 in its lone match with a huge win against No. 15 Western Washington.
• The conference’s Defensive Player of the Week was huge in securing the victory. McKenna Stocker played all 90 minutes as the Cavaliers held the visitors to just four shots on goal.
• In the latest edition of the United Soccer Coaches Division II Coaches Poll, Concordia comes in ranked at No. 10. The Cavaliers are slotted second in the West Region Poll.
• Two matches are on tap for CU this week, starting on Thursday afternoon at first-place Northwest Nazarene. The team will then return home to face Montana State Billings on Saturday at 1 p.m.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings went 1-1 last week, picking up at Providence (Mont.) prior to falling to Central Washington in its GNAC opener.
• The Yellowjackets rallied from three goals down in the Providence match to escape Great Falls with a 4-3 victory. The comeback set a school record for largest deficit overcome to win a match.
• Trailing 3-0 just seven minutes into the match, head coach Stephen Cavallo’s side rallied to pull within one goal at the halftime break. They then tied the match early in the second half with a penalty kick and got the winning goal off the foot of freshman forward Lexie Boyder in the 74th minute.
• Montana State Billings will head east for its Oregon road trip this week. The club will face Western Oregon on Thursday afternoon prior to playing Concordia in Portland on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene finished the third week of competition with a victory in its only match, improving its overall record to a conference-best 5-0-1.
• The near-perfect run for the Nighthawks is the best in program history. The hot start out of the gates comes on the heels of last season’s school-record 11 wins.
• Senior Madi Taylor has led NNU thus far. The midfielder has recorded five goals and leads the team with 11 points through six matches.
•.Forward Rikki Myers received Offensive Player of the Week honors after recording a pair of goals and one assist in Saturday’s 6-1 defeat of Saint Martin’s. Myers is now up to three goals on the season.
•  The club’s three-match homestand will come to a close this week with two more matches. First up is a visit from No. 10 Concordia on Thursday, followed by Western Oregon on Saturday afternoon.

SAINT MARTIN'S
• Saint Martin’s split its two matches last week, prevailing at Evergreen State before falling to Northwest Nazarene.
• The Saints now sit at 4-2-0 overall. Their non-conference record of 4-1-0 was a program best for a mark heading into conference play.  
• Midfielder Kiersten Madsen has been the key to the hot start. The sophomore has tallied 12 points in six matches, scoring five goals on 27 shots.
• Saint Martin’s 11 assists has the team currently ranked 36th nationally. It is tied for third in the GNAC behind Northwest Nazarene (16) and Simon Fraser (15).
• The Saints will return to the pitch on Thursday for their only match of the week. Kickoff in Lacey is set for 3:30 p.m. against Seattle Pacific.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific finished its final week of non-conference action with a 1-1 record.
• The victory came in Seattle against visiting Cal State San Bernardino as the Falcons posted a 2-0 shutout victory.
• In the latest edition of the United Soccer Coaches Division II Coaches West Region Poll, SPU comes in ranked No. 6.
• Forward Sophia Chilczuk leads the team in goals (4), while sophomore Megan Moore has paced the club in assists (4). Those two lead the Falcons in points, with seniors Julia DeVere and Kasey Reeve following closely behind at four apiece.
• Seattle Pacific hits the road now, traveling to Saint Martin’s and Central Washington for its first two GNAC matches of the season.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser split its two matches last week, dropping a 3-2 decision at Westminster (Utah) before rolling past Western Oregon for a 4-1 victory.
• Five different players scored for the Clan this week, but it was forward Emma Pringle who netted three goals across the two matches.
• Pringle leads the team in goals this season, picking up five in five matches. She is followed closely by midfielders Jenna-lee Baxter and Katelyn Erhardsen (3).
• The Clan return to the pitch on Saturday afternoon in Bellingham, where they will meet Western Washington in the only match of the week.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon posted a 1-1 mark in its third week of action. The Wolves worked an overtime win in Forest Grove, Ore. against Pacific (Ore.) before dropping their GNAC opener.
• Forward Kennedy Clay played hero for WOU in the victory as the sophomore found the back of the net in the match’s 92nd minute to grab the 2-1 win.
• Sophomores Alexie Morris and Alyssa Tomasini lead the team with four points apiece through five matches.
• A pair of matches are on tap for Western Oregon this week, starting in Monmouth against Montana State Billings on Thursday. The club will then take to the road and battle Northwest Nazarene two days later for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington finished the third week of play with a 2-1 record.
• In its toughest seven-day stretch of the season, the Vikings played two road matches (one against a top-10 opponent) and had a home date with the seventh-ranked team in the country. The week featured bookended victories at Texas Woman’s (2-0) and against No. 7 Colorado Mines in Bellingham (2-1).
• In the latest edition of the United Soccer Coaches Division II Coaches Poll, Western Washington comes in ranked at No. 15 (and No. 3 in the West Region).
• The Vikings will stay at home this week, facing Simon Fraser on Saturday in its return to GNAC action. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Harrington Field.

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