Wildcats' Comeback Performers Lead Weekly Honors
Jesse Zalk had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, changing the momentum in the Wildcats' 30-24 win at Simon Fraser.
Jesse Zalk had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, changing the momentum in the Wildcats' 30-24 win at Simon Fraser.

Monday, November 9, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. – Two key players in Central Washington’s 30-24 come-from-behind football victory over Simon Fraser leads this week’s selections for GNAC Players of the Week.

Wide receiver Justin Peterson was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. The prime mover in the Wildcats’ game-winning drive, Peterson caught five passes for 151 yards. Three of those passes came in that fourth quarter drive, including a 32-yard touchdown pass. He also caught the ensuing two-point conversion to secure the win. Return man Jesse Zalk was named Special Teams Player of the Week after he made two kick returns for 142 yards. His 95-yard return for a touchdown late in the third quarter was a momentum-changer in the game.

Western Oregon’s George Swartzlender had 10 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery in the Wolves’ win over South Dakota Mines to earn Defensive Player of the Week honors.

A pair of players from the same match shared GNAC Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week honors. Montana State Billings’ Thiago Novis scored two goals, including the go-ahead goal in the 47th minute against Mary. James Liddiard, however, replied with two second half goals, including the tying goal in the 89th minute, that allowed Mary to secure the 3-3 deadlock in both teams’ regular season finale.

Seattle Pacific’s David Karaica earned GNAC Defensive Player of the Week honors as he anchored the team’s defense in a 3-0 shutout of Saint Martin’s that secured the Falcons’ outright GNAC championship.

Alaska’s Miranda Greiser was named the Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week after she came up with 118 assists, an average of 13.11 assists per set, as the Nanooks split against two of the league’s top teams. Greiser finished with 74 assists in the five-set win over Northwest Nazarene, two short of the GNAC single-match record. Alaska Anchorage’s Katelynn Zanders earned defensive honors as she anchored the Seawolves in two wins.

A total of eight student-athletes from seven member schools were recognized in this week’s Player of the Week awards. Central Washington led the way with their two football selections.

Offensive: Justin Peterson
(Central Washington, WR, 6-0, 184, So., Marysville, Wash. - Lakewood): Peterson had eight catches for a career high 151 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown as the Wildcats came from behind to beat Simon Fraser 30-24. Three of his catches came on the game-winning drive and he also caught the two-point conversion following the touchdown. Also Nominated: Ja’Quan Gardner (Humboldt State), Ante Milanovic-Litre (Simon Fraser), Nate Stephens (Dixie State).

Defensive: George Swartzlender (Western Oregon, DL, 6-3, 320, Jr., Burns, Ore. - Burns) Swartzlender led the Western Oregon defense with 10 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack and first quarter fumble recovery as the Wolves won their sixth straight game with a 33-15 win over South Dakota Mines. Also Nominated: Taylor Mitchell (Humboldt State), Colton Olson (Dixie State).

Special Teams: Jesse Zalk (Central Washington, WR/KR, 5-8, 160, Jr., Battle Ground, Wash. - Prairie): Zalk finished with 142 yards on two kick returns, including a 95-yard return for a touchdown that proved a momentum changer in the Wildcats’ 30-24 win over Simon Fraser. His second return went for 47 yards, setting up the Wildcats’ first touchdown of the game. Also Nominated: Cameron Southward (Humboldt State), Nate Stephens (Dixie State).

Thiago Novis (Montana State Billings, F, 6-1, Jr., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Fresno Pacific Univ.): Novis led the Yellowjackets in their regular-season ending 3-3 draw with Mary with two goals, hitting the game-tying goal in the 30th minute and a go-ahead goal in the 47th minute. James Liddiard (Mary, M 5-10, Sr., Litchfield, England – The Friary): Liddiard returned the favor in the second half against Montana State Billings, scoring in the 74th minute and the game-tying goal in the 88th to secure the 3-3 draw with the Yellowjackets. Also Nominated: Stephen McDonald (Seattle Pacific), James Verdin (Northwest Nazarene).

Defensive: Davis Karaica (Seattle Pacific, 6-1, Jr., Snoqualmie, Wash. – Mount Si): Karaica anchored a Seattle Pacific defense that limited Saint Martin’s to one shot on goal as the Falcons clinched the GNAC championship with a 3-0 shutout of the Saints. Also Nominated: Luke Broz (Northwest Nazarene), Tom Lohmann (Montana State Billings), Brandon Watson (Simon Fraser).

Offensive: Miranda Grieser
(Alaska, S, 5-7, Sr., Maple Valley, Wash. – Highline CC): Grieser finished with 118 assists in the Nanooks’ two matches, averaging 13.11 assists per set, in a weekend split. She had 74 assists, two short of the GNAC single-match record, in the Nanooks’ five-set win over Northwest Nazarene and had 44 against Central Washington. Also Nominated: Elayna Rice (Northwest Nazarene), Kendal Williams (Montana State Billings).

Defensive: Katelynn Zanders (Alaska Anchorage, OH, 5-9, Sr., Anchorage, Alaska – South Anchorage): Zanders led the Seawolves to two victories with 23 digs, two service aces and 34 kills. She finished with 14 kills, 12 digs and two aces in Thursday’s five-set win over Central Washington and had 20 kills and 11 digs in a four-set win over Northwest Nazarene. Also Nominated: Alison McKay (Simon Fraser), Linnea Phillips (Northwest Nazarene).