Two Teams Lead the Pack As Conference Play Kicks Off
Northwest Nazarene was one of two teams that went 2-0 through the first week of conference play.
Northwest Nazarene was one of two teams that went 2-0 through the first week of conference play.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSIVE
Claire Potter, Western Washington
M • 5-9 • Freshman • Pasco, Wash.

Potter played big in key situations for the Vikings, scoring both game-winning goals for Western Washington in the first week of conference play. She netted the first goal of the game in a 3-0 win over Simon Fraser in the 24th minute on Thursday. On Saturday, Potter put her third goal of the season into the back of the net on the road against then No. 19 Western Oregon in a 3-2 victory.

Also Nominated: Jackie Sharp (MSUB), Madison Grande (NNU), Briana Kubli (WOU)

DEFENSIVE
Alexis Montoya, Northwest Nazarene
GK • 5-6 • Senior • West Jordan, Utah

Montoya was in net for both Nighthawks wins to start the conference season. She tallied four saves in a 2-0 shutout over Central Washington on Thursday and followed it up with three saves in NNU’s 3-1 win against Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

Also Nominated: Clare Keenan (MSUB), Nicole Anderson (SFU), Marissa Bankey (SPU), Elizabeth Parker (WOU), Tera Ziemer (WWU)

AROUND THE GNAC
CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington took a pair of 2-0 losses at home against Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Montana State Billings on Saturday.

• The Wildcats have struggled in the early portion of the season, only scoring two goals.

Emily Darcy remains the only player to have scored for Central Washington, with two goals and 10 shots to lead the team.

• The Wildcats will hope to break their scoring woes in the second week of conference play when they wrap up their homestand with matches against the Vikings on Thursday and the Red Leafs on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings split its week with a 3-0 loss to Seattle Pacific on Thursday at home before taking its first win of the season with a 2-0 shutout of Central Washington on the road in Ellensburg.

• The Yellowjackets received goals from Jackie Sharp and Jillian Hust to take them to their first win of the season and bring their conference record to 1-1.

Clare Keenan was perfect in net for MSUB, making six saves to record the clean sheet over the Wildcats.

• Montana State Billings will return home for the week when Saint Martin’s makes the trip to Billings on Thursday and Western Oregon comes to town on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene extended its current win streak to four matches with a pair of wins to open the GNAC schedule. One of two teams to go 2-0 in the first conference week, the Nighthawks took a 2-0 win over Central Washington on Thursday in Ellensburg and a 3-1 decision against defending GNAC champions Seattle Pacific at home.

Madison Grande and Ashley Parton were a potent combination for the Nighthawks last week, each scoring two goals.

• Grande’s second goal on Saturday brought her total to five which leads the GNAC and ranks 30th in Division II. The junior midfielder also ranks 24th in Division II with an average of .83 goals per match.

• Goalkeeper Alexis Montoya was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after recording the shutout on Thursday and making three saves in the win on Saturday.

Northwest Nazarene will round out its three-match homestand with a pair of matches against Simon Fraser on Thursday and Western Washington on Saturday.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s split the first week of conference play with a 2-0 loss at Western Oregon on Thursday and a 0-0 draw at home against Simon Fraser on Saturday.

• Saints goalkeeper Soph Mendoza tallied 14 saves across both matches and leads the GNAC and Division II with an average of nine saves per match.

• Saint Martin’s will be on the road this week with a match against Montana State Billings on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific opened its GNAC schedule with a 3-0 win over Montana State Billings on the road before dropping its second match of the road trip to Northwest Nazarene 3-1 in Nampa.

Sophie Beadle scored the game-winner for the Falcons against the Yellowjackets in the 49th minute after a scoreless first half. Marissa Bankey and Rylee Pierce also added goals for SPU while Mercedes Cullen recorded three saves in the shutout.

• On Saturday, Seattle Pacific came up short after an offensively explosive first half that saw three goals scored. The Falcons went down early against Northwest Nazarene, scoring in the 15th minute before netting the equalizer four minutes later. The Nighthawks got the go-ahead goal in the 27th minute, however, which the Falcons were unable to respond to.

• Seattle Pacific will play its first home games of the conference schedule this week, with Western Oregon traveling to Interbay Stadium on Thursday and Saint Martin’s making the trip on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser couldn’t find the back of the net in its first two matches against conference competition, falling to Western Washington 3-0 on Thursday in Bellingham and drawing 0-0 at Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

• The Red Leafs goalkeepers split duties in net with Sarah Loewen making eight saves in Thursday’s 3-0 loss and Nicole Anderson adding two more saves on Saturday in the draw with Saint Martin’s.

• Simon Fraser will continue its series of road matches this week, traveling to face Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon split the first two games of the conference schedule at home, taking a 2-0 win over Saint Martin’s before dropping Saturday’s match against Western Washington 3-2.

• The Wolves were dominant on Thursday, outshooting the Saints 21-4 with the defense not allowing a single shot until the second half of the match. Chloe Smith and Alyssa Talkington each scored for WOU in the first half.

• On Saturday, Western Oregon couldn’t come away with the win after initially trailing 2-0 early in the second half but kept the game close when Briana Kubli halved the lead just seven minutes later. The Vikings netted the eventual game-winner in the 77th minute but that didn’t stop Kubli from making it a one-goal match again with her second goal of the day.

• Western Oregon will be on the road this week when it faces Seattle Pacific on Thursday and Montana State Billings on Saturday.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
 • Western Washington took a pair of wins to start GNAC play, shutting out Simon Fraser 3-0  at home on Thursday before battling to a 3-2 victory over then No. 19 Western Oregon Saturday in Monmouth.

• The Vikings scored the most goals of any team in the first week of conference play with their wins earning them GNAC Team of the Week honors.

Claire Potter netted both game-winning goals for WWU, striking early on Thursday in the 24th minute and following it up with her third goal of the season on Saturday in the 77th minute. The goal-scoring touch at important moments earned her the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week award.

• Western Washington is tied for first in the GNAC, allowing an average of one goal per match.

• Western Washington will continue its conference schedule with two matches on the road this week, starting with Central Washington on Thursday before taking on Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.