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Better Than The Original? Falcons Beat WWU Again
Makena Rietz scored 51 seconds into SPU's win over Western Washington and two goals against Simon Fraser on Saturday.
Makena Rietz scored 51 seconds into SPU's win over Western Washington and two goals against Simon Fraser on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Anybody who isn’t a fan of sequels probably shouldn’t mention it to the Seattle Pacific Falcons. 

After the first matchup between No. 4 SPU and No. 18 Western Washington was a 1-0 heart-stopping overtime classic, the rematch lacked any sort of drama as the Falcons scored early and often in a stunningly dominant 3-0 win on Western Washington’s home field.

GNAC Offensive Player of the Week Makena Rietz needed only 51 seconds to open the scoring for SPU before Madison Ibale and Sophia Chilczuk added insurance. In the Falcons’ second match of the week, Rietz had two goals while Chilczuk tied a school record with three assists in a 3-0 win over Simon Fraser. While Western Washington rebounded to beat Montana State Billings 3-0 on Saturday, they now trail SPU by one point in the GNAC title race.

Elsewhere, Western Oregon’s Lilly Nowatzke recorded the first hat-trick of the GNAC season in a 4-2 win against Central Washington, as the Wolves knock on the door of a top-four spot. GNAC Defensive Player of the Week Kate Bleffert and Northwest Nazarene ran their team scoreless streak to over 400 minutes by recording two more shutout wins.

In the first West Regional Rankings, the GNAC was represented well, with SPU at No. 1, WWU at No. 2 and NNU at No. 6. The Vikings and Nighthawks headline next week’s match-ups when they battle Thursday night in Nampa.

GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

OFFENSE
Makena Rietz, Seattle Pacific
M • 5-7 • Senior • Walla Walla, Wash.
Rietz scored three times, including both game-winning goals that sparked fourth-ranked Seattle Pacific to a pair of GNAC road wins. She scored 51 seconds into a 3-0 victory against No. 18 Western Washington that snapped the Vikings' 32-game home win streak. Against Simon Fraser, Rietz struck twice in the opening 17 minutes. Her three goals came on just four shots.

Also Nominated: Lilly Nowatzke (WOU), Jenna Killman (WWU)

DEFENSE
Kate Bleffert, Northwest Nazarene
D • 5-8 • Freshman • Driggs, Idaho
Bleffert played all 180 minutes at center back in NNU’s two shutout victories. The Nighthawks beat Western Oregon 2-0 and Saint Martin’s 1-0, meaning the defense had no margin for error to ensure the Nighthawks kept possession of a top-four playoff spot. Northwest Nazarene now has shutouts in their last four matches and five of their last six.  

Also Nominated: Madison Ibale (SPU), Hannah Rispler (WOU)

AROUND THE GNAC

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington defeated Saint Martin’s 3-2 on the road on Thursday before falling 4-2 to Western Oregon on Saturday. Both of the Wildcats’ GNAC victories have come against the Saints.
• The game against Saint Martin’s was scoreless after 45 minutes, but both offenses turned on the jets in the second half. Forward Grace Jackson opened the scoring off an assist from Makinzie Packwood before Packwood got an unassisted goal of her own in the 59th minute after SMU equalized. Casey Park added an insurance goal in the 76th minute.
• Packwood’s three-point afternoon came on her return to the lineup after missing two games. She shares the team lead in points (10) with midfielder Sydney Lowe. Packwood ranks tied for fourth in the GNAC with four assists.
• Lowe assisted on Park’s goal in the win against Saint Martin’s before scoring her team-leading fourth goal against Western Oregon. Along with a Wolves own goal, Lowe’s strike allowed the Wildcats to briefly equalize after falling behind 2-0.
• Liz Canton made eight saves against Saint Martin’s and five against Western Oregon. Canton is second in the GNAC with 66 saves. She ranks second in the GNAC and 46th in Division II with six saves per match.
• The Wildcats have scored one-third of their 15 goals this season in the past two matches.
• Central Washington will host Simon Fraser on Thursday and Western Washington on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings lost ground in the race for the top four, losing 1-0 to Simon Fraser on Thursday and 3-0 to No. 18 Western Washington on Saturday.
• Clare Keenan made nine saves against the Vikings, tying a season-high. Keenan ranks third in the GNAC with 61 saves.
• Sophomore forward Sydney Torres recorded both of MSUB’s shots on target over the week. Torres ranks second on the team with three goals and 12 shots on goal.
 • Liberty Palmer had a quiet week but is still enjoying a standout freshman campaign. She is tied for fourth in the GNAC in shots (42) and tied for seventh in goals (four).
• Freshman defender Hailee Gertsch has been the model of consistency and excellence on the MSUB backline. Gertsch leads the GNAC with 1,300 minutes played and has yet to commit a foul all season.
• Perhaps the biggest impediment to MSUB’s success this year has been playing on the road. The Yellowjackets are 0-5-2 in true road games this season, compared to 4-2-1 when playing in Billings.
• Montana State Billings will get to stay in friendlier confines this week, hosting matches against Western Oregon on Thursday and Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene laid their strongest claim yet for a top-three spot in the GNAC with two road wins. The Nighthawks beat Western Oregon 2-0 on Thursday and Saint Martin’s 1-0 on Saturday.
• The Nighthawks are on a six-match unbeaten run that includes five shutout wins. Northwest Nazarene is in the midst of a 405-minute scoreless streak.
• Goalkeeper Alexis Montoya has been the fulcrum of that defensive effort. Montoya made seven saves against WOU and made five saves in 50 minutes against the Saints before needing to exit the game. Freshman Ariel Kotte came on in relief for the final 40 minutes and made three key saves to preserve the shutout and the win. Montoya leads the GNAC and ranks 26th in Division II with 80 saves and ranks third with a 0.80 goals against average. Her .889 save percentage ranks tied for 10th in Division II.
• Kate Bleffert was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after playing 180 minutes at center back and helping the Nighthawks navigate the departure of Montoya to pull out two narrow victories.
• Against Western Oregon, NNU got their offensive output out of the way, as Sierra Sanchez and Ashley Parton scored in the match’s opening 20 minutes. Sanchez and Parton are tied for second on the team with three goals apiece.
• Madison Grande tallied the winner against Saint Martin’s in the 82nd minute. Grande ranks tied for fourth in the GNAC in both goals (five) and shots (42).
• Northwest Nazarene ranks third in the GNAC in goals allowed (13), goals scored (19) and points (54), while ranking second in saves (84).
• The Nighthawks remained at No. 8 in the United Soccer Coaches West Region Poll. They were No. 6 in the NCAA’s preliminary West Region Rankings used to determine postseason status.
• Northwest Nazarene hosts No. 18 Western Washington on Thursday and Simon Fraser on Saturday. It will be the first meeting of the year between SFU and the Nighthawks.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s dropped a pair of one-goal decisions at home, losing 3-2 to Central Washington on Thursday and 1-0 to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.
• The Saints are in the midst of a seven-match losing streak, but their past four defeats have been by just one goal.
• Against CWU, Taylor Goodpaster scored off an assist from Rachel Kimura to tie the match at 1-1. After the Wildcats scored twice, Peyton Aselton pulled one back for the Saints in the 84th minute. It was the first goal of the season for both players. Kimura is now tied with Rebecca Garrison for the team lead with two assists.
• Goalkeeper Ali Campigotto led the GNAC with 15 saves this week, making seven against Central Washington and eight against NNU. Campigotto ranks fourth in the GNAC with 52 saves and 4.73 saves per match.
• Maddie Wolff leads the Saints with three goals. She has put nine of her 17 shots on target this season for a .529 shot on goal percentage.
• The Saints have more tough matchups ahead, playing at No. 4 Seattle Pacific on Thursday and at Montana State Billings on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific put themselves in the driver’s seat for the GNAC’s No. 1 seed, defeating No. 18 Western Washington 3-0 on the road on Thursday for their second head-to-head win over the Vikings this year. The Falcons also beat Simon Fraser on Saturday by the same 3-0 score.
• In defeating Western Washington, SPU became the first team to score multiple goals against the Vikings all season. They checked off that box in the first half, as Makena Rietz scored 51 seconds into the match before defender Madison Ibale scored in the 40th minute. Sophia Chilczuk added the clincher in the 57th.
• Against Simon Fraser, Rietz scored twice in the first 17 minutes before Toni Miranda notched her first goal of the year in the 82nd. For her three goals, including two game-winners, Rietz was named the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week. She now shares the conference lead in goals (seven) with teammate Lauren Forster.
• Despite Rietz’s production, Chilczuk was still the star of the Simon Fraser match, assisting on all three SPU goals. With three assists in a single match, the senior midfielder tied a school record that had been done four other times. Chilczuk leads the GNAC with 10 assists and 18 points and leads Division II with 0.83 assists per match.
• Led by goalie Riley Travis, the Falcons defense is having a historic season. Travis leads Division II in goals against average (0.19) and save percentage (.937). With four games to play, Travis is threatening the GNAC single-season GAA record of 0.30, set by fellow SPU netminder Jennifer Hull in 2003.
• The Falcons remain at No. 4 overall in the United Soccer Coaches Poll and are No. 1 in both the United Soccer Coaches and the NCAA West Region rankings.
• Seattle Pacific has a one-point lead over WWU for the No. 1 seed in the GNAC and can clinch a spot in the GNAC Championships if they win on Thursday at home against Saint Martin’s. The Falcons face Western Oregon at home on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser defeated Montana State Billings 1-0 on Thursday before losing to No. 4 Seattle Pacific 3-0 on Saturday.
• The match against the Yellowjackets was unique because neither goalkeeper made a save in 90 minutes of action. Freshman forward Raegan Mackenzie scored in the 82nd minute on the only shot on goal for either team. Nicole Anderson kept her second shutout of the year for SFU.
• Mackenzie was assisted on her goal by freshman midfielder Annika Gross. Gross and Giuliana Zaurrini have the team lead in assists with two apiece. Gross and Zaurrini also combined for SFU’s two shots on goal against Seattle Pacific. Zaurrini leads the team in goals with three.
• Simon Fraser has committed fewer fouls (86) than any team in the GNAC. The second-lowest team, Western Washington, has 113.
• The team ranks fourth in the GNAC with a 1.33 goals against average. The 11 points by SPU in Saturday’s match were the most by a Simon Fraser opponent this season.
• Simon Fraser travels to Central Washington on Thursday before facing Northwest Nazarene in Idaho on Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon lost 2-0 to Northwest Nazarene on Thursday before defeating Central Washington 4-2 on Saturday.
• The win against Central was the Lilly Nowatzke show. The freshman forward tallied a first hat trick for the Wolves and added an assist on the only goal she didn’t score. Nowatzke’s seven points and three goals are both single-game highs in the GNAC this year.
• Nowatzke placed herself in the right place at the right time all afternoon. In the 13th minute, her run to the box was rewarded by a pass from Piper Matson that Nowatzke buried. In the 23rd minute, a Jenna Efraimson shot was blocked and pinballed around before Nowatzke pounced on the loose ball for a tap-in. In the 81st minute, Matson had two shots saved before Nowatzke finished the second rebound for the game-winning goal, and seven minutes later, Nowatzke attracted the defense towards her before sending in a through ball that Efraimson slotted into the net for the Wolves’ fourth.
• The Wolves combined for six assists against CWU (Nowatzke, Efraimson, Hannah Rispler, Alyssa Talkington and two from Matson), the second-highest total in a GNAC game this year.
• Nowatzke (four goals, two assists) and Matson (three goals, three assists) have been WOU’s primary offensive threats, along with Chloe Smith, who ranks tied for fourth in the GNAC with four assists and ninth in shots with 32.
• As it stands, Western Oregon is one point behind Simon Fraser for the fourth and final spot in the GNAC Championships. They will look to make up ground on the road against Montana State Billings on Thursday and No. 4 Seattle Pacific on Saturday. The Wolves handed SPU their only GNAC loss back on September 30 in Monmouth.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington endured their worst defeat of the season, falling 3-0 to No. 4 Seattle Pacific Thursday night, but the Vikings rallied with a 3-0 win of their own over Montana State Billings on Saturday.
• The loss to SPU was the first time all season that Western Washington has given up multiple goals. Seattle Pacific is responsible for both of the Vikings’ losses this season, and the two match-ups with the Falcons are the only GNAC games in which WWU has failed to score.
• Against MSUB, the Vikings returned to winning ways thanks to a brace from Jenna Killman, who scored the match’s second and third goals. Killman ranks third in the GNAC with six goals and leads the conference with 46 shots.
• Sophomore defender Mackenzie Burks scored Western Washington’s first goal against MSUB and set up Killman’s second later on in the match. Burks is tied for fourth in the GNAC with four assists, but found the net for the first time.
• Tera Ziemer continues to have a strong debut season for the Vikings after transferring from Division I Texas A&M. Ziemer ranks tied for fourth in the GNAC in goals (five) and points (13) and ranks tied for 19th in Division II with four game-winning goals.  
• Despite conceding three goals against the Falcons, goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx has only let in eight this season in nearly 1,300 minutes for a 0.56 goals against average that ranks 22nd in Division II.
• The Vikings fell six spots to No. 18 in the United Soccer Coaches National Poll and one spot to No. 3 in the West Region Poll. The NCAA Regional Rankings view WWU more favorably at No. 2.
• Western Washington is one spot behind Seattle Pacific for the No. 1 seed in the GNAC standings. They can clinch a spot in the four-team GNAC Championships if they win Thursday at Northwest Nazarene. They face Central Washington on the road on Saturday.


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