Final Non-Conference Matches On Tap For Men’s Soccer
SPU is one of four teams heading into week three of the regular season season 2-2-0. The Falcons will be returning home for their home opener against Regis and Colorado Mines. | Photo by Rio Giancarlo
SPU is one of four teams heading into week three of the regular season season 2-2-0. The Falcons will be returning home for their home opener against Regis and Colorado Mines. | Photo by Rio Giancarlo

Wednesday, September 13, 2023
by Thomas Lal

PORTLAND, Ore. – The final week of competition before conference play has arrived and every GNAC men’s soccer program will be in action before taking a week off to recover from the non-conference grind.

With the GNAC schedule on the horizon, most of the conference’s seven teams are staying home or staying within GNAC country for their final tune-ups. Seattle Pacific, Simon Fraser, Western Oregon and Western Washington will all be home this week while Montana State Billings and Saint Martin’s both play neutral site matches in Burnaby and Monmouth, respectively. Northwest Nazarene will be the only team venturing outside of the conference’s footprint to play a pair of games in Texas.

The final week of non-conference play sees Montana State Billings leading the way with a 3-1-0 record followed by Northwest Nazarene (2-1-1) and four teams all tied with a 2-2-0 record. Offense has been the name of the game for GNAC programs in the young season, with all teams combining for 44 goals.


This Week's Storylines


MEETING IN MONMOUTH: Western Oregon (2-2-0) and Saint Martin’s (2-2-0) are both set to take on Colorado Christian (1-0-2) this week in Monmouth. The Saints will get the action rolling on Thursday while the Wolves will face the Cougars on Saturday. Both SMU and WOU are among four GNAC teams to open the season 2-2-0 and will look to hand CCU its first losses of the season.

Saint Martin’s will look to find its goalscoring touch after junior goalkeeper Nick Mueller has been busy in net to start the season. Mueller leads the conference with a .833 save percentage and ranks second in the GNAC and 17th in Division II with 6.25 saves per game through four matches. As a team, the Saints are second in the conference and ninth in the division with an average of 6.75 saves per game.

Western Oregon has been one of the top offensive teams in the GNAC through non-conference play, ranking in the top three teams of the GNAC in points, goals, assists and assists per game. It has been a balanced scoring effort for the Wolves, with eight players tallying at least one point. Junior forward/midfielder Alejandro Velasco leads the offense with four points on two goals. Senior goalkeeper Juan Suarez has picked up right where he left off last season and leads the GNAC while ranking ninth in Division II with seven saves per game.

NIGHTHAWKS SEEK BIG WINS IN TEXAS: Northwest Nazarene (2-1-1) will look to build on its early season results with a winning road trip in Texas. The Nighthawks will face West Texas A&M (0-2-1) on Thursday in Canyon and Lubbock Christian (2-0-1) on Saturday in Lubbock. Northwest Nazarene’s offense has been led by freshman forward Jim Wagenaar who has notched seven points in four matches to rank second on the GNAC. Wagenaar notched the majority of his points in NNU’s 3-1 win over Chaminade on Sept. 2 where he finished with two goals and an assist. He also scored the game-winner in the Nighthawks’ 1-0 victory over Colorado Mesa last Thursday.

HOME IS WHERE THE FALCONS ARE: Seattle Pacific (2-2-0) has spent a lot of time away from home after a preseason trip to Spain and four straight road games to open the regular season. That long stretch on the road ends this week as the Falcons host Regis (1-2-1) on Thursday and Colorado Mines (0-0-3) on Saturday. The weekend will see SPU celebrate the 55th year of the program’s history and recognize the Falcons’ 1993 national championship team on Saturday

Read More: Overcome Odds, Exceed Expectations by Mark Moschetti/SPU Athletics

On the pitch, Seattle Pacific will aim to honor the past with results in the present as it prepares for the start of GNAC play. The Falcons have been one of the top-scoring teams in the conference and are tied for the GNAC lead with nine goals and seven assists. Reigning GNAC Offensive Player of the Week Raymundo Mendez will hope to keep SPU in the win column after tallying a goal and an assist in both matches last week.

 Saturday’s match against the Orediggers promises to be a test of that offensive form as Colorado Mines comes into the game earning votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll. The Orediggers have conceded just four goals in three contests, two against top 20 ranked teams.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Simon Fraser (2-2-0) and Montana State Billings (3-1-0) will both face RMAC opponents Fort Lewis (2-1-0) and Colorado Mesa (2-2-0) in Burnaby this week. The Red Leafs will take on Fort Lewis on Thursday and Colorado Mesa on Saturday with MSUB playing the reverse schedule.

Simon Fraser will look to notch its first win at home this season after a pair of tough losses last week to CCAA opponents. The Red Leafs offense has been led by freshman forward Koji Poon with two goals and four points in the young season. In net, senior goalkeeper Justyn Sandhu has started every match for SFU and ranks second in the conference with an .826 save percentage. Sandhu also ranks third in the GNAC with 19 saves and 4.75 saves per game.

Montana State Billings has gotten off to the best start of any GNAC team this season despite taking a loss to cap off last week. As a team, the Yellowjackets lead the conference with two shutouts and are tied for the GNAC lead with nine goals. Sophomore forward Ty Vohland has led the charge for the offense and is tied for the conference lead and 17th in Division II with eight points in four matches. Vohland also leads the GNAC and ranks third in the division with four goals.

VIKINGS RETURN TO FRIENDLY WATERS: Western Washington (1-2-1) will be back at home for its regular season opener this week after playing four straight matches on the road in California. The Vikings went 1-1 last week, taking a 3-1 win over Concordia (0-3-0) before falling 1-0 to Point Loma (2-2-0). 

Western Washington will play Colorado Mines (0-0-3) on Thursday before taking on Regis (1-2-1) on Saturday. The Vikings will aim to maintain their defensive play this week after allowing just one goal in three of the season’s four matches. Senior goalkeeper Brandon Locke was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in WWU’s win over Concordia last week. Locke ranks third in the conference with a 1.25 goals against average and is fifth with 11 saves.

Player to Watch


Moises Cisneros, Western Oregon

Cisneros has quickly established himself as one of the top passing midfielders in the GNAC early in the season. The junior transfer from Taft College is tied for the conference lead with three helpers in four matches. Cisneros has started every one of those matches in his first season for the Wolves and is tied for second on the team with 350 minutes played. His three points are tied for second on the team and 10th in the GNAC.

He notched two of his helpers in Western Oregon’s 3-1 win over Hawaii Pacific (1-2-1) on Sept. 3 and notched one more on Sept. 7 against Cal State Dominguez Hills (2-0-1) in a 3-2 loss on the road. Cisneros will have his first opportunity to play in front of the fans in Monmouth on Saturday when the Wolves host their home opener against Colorado Christian (1-0-2).


National Rankings

The second United Soccer Coaches Division II rankings of the season came out on Sept. 12 with Northwest Nazarene slipping out of the top 25 after taking its first loss of the season, 2-1, against Westminster (Utah) (2-1-1). The Nighthawks will have the chance to put themselves back in the national picture on Thursday when they face West Texas A&M (0-2-1) on the road.

Poll Team 1 Team 2
Preseason 6. NNU NR
Sept. 5 22. NNU RV SFU
Sept. 12 None  
GNAC Men's Soccer In The NCAA Statistical National Rankings

Through games on Sept. 11.

Team Rankings (Top-30)

Corner Kicks Per Game: 22. SPU, 6.50
Saves Per Game: 7. WOU, 7.25; 9. SMU, 6.75
Shutout Percentage: 17. MSUB, .500
Assists: 22. SPU, 7; 22. WOU, 7

Individual Rankings (Top-30)

Assists Per Game: 3. Moises Cisneros, WOU, 1.00; 20. Bjarne Fedkenhauer, MSUB, .750
Game-Winning Goals: 1. Jim Wagenaar, NNU, 2; 20. 12 Players Tied, 2
Goalie Minutes Played: 4. Five Players Tied, 360:00
Goals Per Game: 13. Ty Vohland, MSUB, 1.00
Penalty Kicks: Diego Andrade, SMU, 1.000; 1. Callum Bryan, MSUB, 1.000; 1. Jacob Garcia, WOU, 1.000
Points Per Game: 27. Raymundo Mendez, SPU, 2.00; 27. Ty Vohland, MSUB, 2.00
Saves Per Game: 9. Juan Suarez, WOU, 7.00; 17. Nick Mueller, SMU, 6.25
Shot Accuracy: 5. Ty Vohland, MSUB, .889
Shots On Goal Per Game: 28. Ty Vohland, MSUB, 2.00
Shutouts: 8. Jeremi Campagnolo, MSUB, 2; 30. Nick Mueller, SMU, 1; 30. Sawyer Price, 1; 30. Justyn Sandhu, 1
Assists: 1. Moises Cisneros, WOU, 4; 7. Bjarne Fedkenhauer, MSUB, 3
Goals: 3. Ty Vohland, MSUB, 4; 25. Raymundo Mendez, SPU, 3; 25. Jim Wagenaar, NNU, 3
Points: 17. Ty Vohland, MSUB, 8; 17. Raymundo Mendez, SPU, 8; 30. Jim Wagenarr, NNU, 7
Saves: 1. Juan Suarez, WOU, 28; 6. Nick Mueller, SMU, 25; 18. Justyn Sandhu, SFU, 19

2023 GNAC Men's Soccer Players of the Week
Date Offensive Player of the Week Defensive Player of the Week
Sept. 5 Koji Poon, Simon Fraser Kolja Thomas, Montana State Billings
Sept. 11 Raymundo Mendez, Seattle Pacific Brandon Locke, Western Washington

Sept. 11 GNAC Men's Soccer Players of the Week

Offensive: Raymudo Mendez, Seattle Pacific

Mendez filled up the stat sheet for the Falcons, racking up six total points with a pair of goals and a pair of assists. The junior from Yakima, Wash., was efficient with his chances, scoring on two of the three shots he took on the weekend. He started his week with a goal and an assist in SPU’s 4-3 loss at Point Loma, before repeating the feat in the team’s 4-3 win at Concordia Irvine.

The transfer from Columbia Basin College put his name onto the GNAC Newcomer of the Year watch list and enters this week tied for second in the conference with three goals.

Also Nominated: Ty Vohland, MSUB; Raoul Barragan, NNU; Albin Jonsson, WWU.

Defensive: Brandon Locke, Western Washington

Locke was instrumental in the Vikings’ 3-1 win at Concordia Irvine Thursday, making three saves to earn his first victory of the season. The senior from Federal Way, Wash., followed with three more denials in the Vikings’ tough 1-0 loss at Point Loma on Saturday. Locke has totaled 11 saves this season and ranks third in the conference with a goals against average of 1.25.