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Falcon Crest: Seattle Pacific Dominates Weekly Honors
Nik Reierson (left) and Riley Travis swept the Soccer Defensive Player of the Week awards.
Nik Reierson (left) and Riley Travis swept the Soccer Defensive Player of the Week awards.

Monday, October 11, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – Some of the best soccer in the West was played last week at Interbay Stadium and it was Seattle Pacific’s stage with the Falcons winning three of the four GNAC Soccer Player of the Week awards.

The Falcons swept both men’s awards after going 2-0 at home. Senior forward Alex Mejia was named the Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week after he scored a hat trick to go along with an assist in SPU’s 6-0 shutout of Saint Martin’s on Saturday. Mejia scored two goals in the opening 12 minutes of the match before completing the hat trick in the 52nd minute. He added an assist on Judah Johnston’s goal in the 73rd minute.

Senior defender Nik Reierson earned the Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week award after he anchored an SPU defense that allowed just one goal on 21 shots. He also contributed the game-winner on a penalty kick in the 63rd minute of Thursday’s 2-1 win over Northwest Nazarene.

On the women’s side, senior goalkeeper Riley Travis was named the Defensive Player of the Week after scoring a pair of shutouts. Travis made four saves in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Simon Fraser and then finished with three saves, including on a potential game-winning penalty kick 11 seconds into overtime, in the Falcons’ 1-0 win over No. 6 Western Washington.

Northwest Nazarene sophomore midfielder Madison Grande scored her way to Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week honors. Grande scored the game-winner in the 42nd minute of the Nighthawks’ 2-0 shutout of Saint Martin’s on Thursday. She then scored the opening goal and assisted on the game-tying goal in Saturday’s 2-2 tie with Western Oregon.

Alaska Anchorage swept the volleyball awards after taking a five-set win from No. 25 Central Washington on Thursday and a three-set sweep over Northwest Nazarene on Saturday. Junior right-side hitter Eve Stephens averaged 5.12 kills and 2.25 digs per set with a .391 hitting percentage to earn Offensive Player of the Week honors. She tied her career high with 26 kills against the Wildcats to go with eight digs, four blocks and three aces. Stephens then had a double-double of 15 kills and 10 digs against NNU.

Senior middle blocker/right-side hitter Vera Pluharova was named the Defensive Player of the Week as she averaged 1.62 blocks, 1.75 kills and 0.75 digs per set in the two wins. She finished with nine blocks, seven kills, four digs and an ace against Central Washington before adding four blocks, two digs and seven kills against Northwest Nazarene.

Central Washington scored two of three football weekly awards after its 45-14 GNAC win over Western Oregon. Freshman running back Tyler Flanagan was named the Offensive Player of the Week after he carried the ball 12 times for 93 yards and a pair of third-quarter touchdowns, scoring on an eight-yard run and a game-long 35-yard run. Senior defensive lineman Zach Stecklein earned Defensive Player of the Week after he led CWU with six solo tackles, four tackles for loss for 22 yards and three sacks.

Western Oregon senior defensive back Curtis Anderson was named the Special Teams Player of the Week for his five kick returns for a total of 96 yards. He averaged 19.2 yards per return.

Simon Fraser senior Aaron Ahl and Montana State Billings junior Ase Ackerman shared Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors after both ran to third-place finishes in their respective races. Ackerman took third in Friday’s Yellowjacket/Battlin’ Bear Invitational with a time of 25:10.3 over 8,000 meters. Ahl took third at Saturday’s Bill Roe Classic with a time of 31:31.9 over 10,000 meters. Both runners averaged 5:04 per mile.

Simon Fraser senior Olivia Willett was named the Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week after she placed second at the Bill Roe Classic in a time of 21:48.6 over 6,000 meters. She led SFU to the team title with a score of 41 points.

A quartet of players shared the golf weekly honors. Saint Martin’s senior Dennis Geissler and Simon Fraser freshman Bailey Bjornson shared the Men’s Golf Player of the Week after tying for 19th place at the Sam Proal West/South Central Regional Preview to lead all GNAC players.

Western Washington juniors Sarah Shea and Megan Billeter shared the Women’s Golf Player of the Week honors after the pair tied for seventh at the Westminster Wasatch Invitational with scores of 7-over-par 151 to lead the Vikings to a third-place team finish.

GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK SELECTIONS – WEEK 7
FOOTBALL OFFENSIVE
Tyler Flanagan
(Central Washington, RB, 6-0, Fr., Woodland, Wash. – Woodland): Flanagan carried the ball 12 times for 93 yards and scored two touchdowns in Central Washington’s 45-14 win over Western Oregon. Both of his touchdowns came in the third quarter on an eight-yard run and a game-long 35-yard run. Also Nominated: Andrew Valladares (Western Oregon).

FOOTBALL DEFENSIVE
Zach Stecklein
(Central Washington, DL, 6-6, Sr., Mt. Horeb, Iowa – St. Cloud St. Univ.): Stecklein led the Central Washington defense with six solo tackles, four tackles for loss for 22 yards and three sacks in Saturday’s 45-14 win over Western Oregon. He was the key cog in a CWU defense that allowed WOU 254 total offense yards. Also Nominated: Jaylin Parnell (Western Oregon).

FOOTBALL SPECIAL TEAMS
Curtis Anderson
(Western Oregon, DB, 6-2, Sr., Klamath Falls, Ore. – Mazama): Anderson paced the return game for Western Oregon in Saturday’s 45-14 loss to Central Washington, taking five kick returns for a total of 96 yards. Also Nominated: Patrick Hegarty (Central Washington).

MEN’S SOCCER OFFENSIVE
Alex Mejia
(Seattle Pacific, F, 6-2, Sr., Seattle, Wash. – Roosevelt): Mejia erupted for three goals and an assist as the Falcons went 2-0 on the week. Mejia scored twice in the opening 12 minutes and then scored on a header in the 52nd minute in Saturday’s 6-0 shutout of Saint Martin’s. It was the first hat trick by a SPU player since 2018. Mejia had his assist on Judah Johnston’s goal in the 73rd minute. Also Nominated: Halil Yilmaz (Montana State Billings), Drew Farnsworth (Western Washington).

MEN’S SOCCER DEFENSIVE
Nik Reierson
(Seattle Pacific, D, 5-11, Sr., Duvall, Wash. – Cedarcrest): Reierson anchored a Seattle Pacific defense that allowed just one goal on 21 shots in two matches. On Thursday, Reierson converted a penalty kick in the 63rd minute that was the game-winner in the 2-1 victory over Northwest Nazarene. He then assisted on Alex Mejia’s third goal in Saturday’s 6-0 rout of Saint Martin’s. Also Nominated: Luca Battistotti (Montana State Billings), Brandon Locke (Western Washington).

WOMEN’S SOCCER OFFENSIVE
Madison Grande
(Northwest Nazarene, M, 5-5, So., Gig Harbor, Wash. – Concordia Univ. (Ore.)): Grande had two goals and an assist in Northwest Nazarene’s 1-0-1 week. Grande scored the game-winner in the 42nd minute in the Nighthawks’ 2-0 shutout of Saint Martin’s on Thursday. She then scored the opening goal in the 32nd minute and assisted on the game-tying goal in the 56th minute in Saturday’s 2-2 tie with Western Oregon. Also Nominated: Sydney Lowe (Central Washington), Sydney Torres (Montana State Billings), Rachel Kimura (Saint Martin’s), Claire Neder (Seattle Pacific), Kiara Buono (Simon Fraser), Chloe Smith (Western Oregon).

WOMEN’S SOCCER DEFENSIVE
Riley Travis
(Seattle Pacific, GK, 5-6, Sr., Seattle, Wash. – Ballard): Travis registered back-to-back shutouts as Seattle Pacific moved into a tie for first in the conference standings. Travis made four saves in the Falcon’s 2-0 shutout of Simon Fraser on Thursday. She then made three saves, including a diving stop on a penalty kick 11 seconds into overtime of the Falcons’ 1-0 win over No. 6 Western Washington. Also Nominated: Maci Parke (Central Washington), Ally Findlay (Montana State Billings), Emily Wheeler (Western Oregon).

VOLLEYBALL OFFENSIVE
Eve Stephens
(Alaska Anchorage, RS, 6-1, Jr., Palmer, Alaska – Colony): Stephens averaged 5.12 kills and 2.25 digs per set with a .391 hitting percentage to lead the Seawolves to two wins. Stephens matched her career high with 26 kills with eight digs, four blocks, three aces and a .357 hitting percentage in a five-set win over No. 25 Central Washington on Thursday. She came back for a double-double of 15 kills and 10 digs with three blocks and a .452 hitting percentage in Saturday’s three-set sweep of Northwest Nazarene. Also Nominated: Sophie Schilling (Alaska), Skylar Reed (Montana State Billings), Emily Gooding (Saint Martin’s), Erin Smith (Seattle Pacific), Brooke Dexter (Simon Fraser), Calley Heilborn (Western Washington).

VOLLEYBALL DEFENSIVE
Vera Pluharova
(Alaska Anchorage, MB/RS, 6-2, Sr., Nechanice, Czech Republic – Biskupske Gymnazium Bohuslava Balbina): Pluharova averaged 1.62 blocks, 1.75 kills and 0.75 digs per set in the Seawolves two wins. She opened with nine blocks, seven kills, four digs and an ace in Thursday’s five-set win over No. 25 Central Washington on Thursday. Pluharova then posted four blocks, two digs and seven kills in Saturday’s three-set sweep over Northwest Nazarene. Also Nominated: Dani Dodge (Alaska), Jennifer Soha (Saint Martin’s), Bianca Te (Simon Fraser), Kasey Woodruff (Western Washington).

MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Aaron Ahl
(Simon Fraser, Sr., Calgary, Alta. – William Aberhart): Ahl placed third at the Bill Roe Classic, covering the 10,000-meter course in a time of 31:31.9. He averaged 5:04 per mile and was the top GNAC finisher in the meet, leading SFU to a third-place team finish with 65 points.

Ase Ackerman (Montana State Billings, Jr., Glendive, Mont – Dawson County): Ackerman placed third at Friday’s Yellowjacket/Battlin’ Bear Open, covering the 8,000-meter course in 25:10.3. He averaged 5:04 per mile and led MUSB to a second-place team finish with 91 points. Also Nominated: Trevor Allen (Central Washington), Miguel Villar (Western Oregon), Mac Franks (Western Washington).

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Olivia Willett
(Simon Fraser, Sr., Coquitlam, B.C. – Riverside): Willett placed second at the Bill Roe Classic on Saturday, covering the 6,000-meter course in a time of 21:48.6. She was nine seconds behind winner Amelia Keyser-Gibson and led SFU to the team title with a score of 41 points. Also Nominated: Kailee Stoppel (Montana State Billings), Luz Garcia (Western Oregon), Brittany Aquino (Western Washington).

MEN’S GOLF
Bailey Bjornson
(Simon Fraser, Fr., Surrey, B.C. – Pacific Academy) & Dennis Geissler (Saint Martin’s, Sr., Burlington, Wash. – Burlington-Edison): Bjornson and Gesieeler tied for 19th place at the Sam Proal West/South Central Regional Preview, carding scores of 1-under-par 141. Bjornson carded a round of 67 on the opening round, tying for the best round of the tournament. Geissler carded consistent scores of 71 and 70.

WOMEN’S GOLF
Sarah Shea
(Western Washington, Jr., Sequim, Wash. – Sequim) and Megan Billeter (Western Washington, Jr., Spokane, Wash. – Mt. Spokane): The Vikings’ tandem tied for seventh at the Westminster Wasatch Invitational and led Western Washington to a third-place team finish. Shea and Billeter each carded a two-round score of 7-over-par 151. Billeter shot a low round of 74 on the opening day while Shea shot a 74 on the second day. Also Nominated: Tierney Messmer (Montana State Billings), Kathryn Crimp (Saint Martin’s), Natasha Kozlowski (Simon Fraser).

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