POTY Rietz Headlines Eight All-Region Selections
Makena Rietz was named the D2CCA West Region Player of the Year after previously winning the GNAC Player of the Year award.
Makena Rietz was named the D2CCA West Region Player of the Year after previously winning the GNAC Player of the Year award.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – Makena Rietz was already named the best player in the GNAC. Now, she can add “best player in the region” to her resume, too.

The senior midfielder from Seattle Pacific was honored by the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) as their West Region Player of the Year. Rietz highlighted a total of eight GNAC players to be recognized and six GNAC athletes on a 13-player first team.

Rietz has scored 13 goals this season as the top contributor to a potent Falcons attack that is the eighth-best scoring offense in Division II while also performing well defensively as a ball-winning central midfielder. She paced the conference with 10 goals in the regular season before scoring two in the GNAC Championships and one in SPU’s NCAA tournament opener against Sonoma State.

While Rietz took home the West Region’s top honors, she was accompanied on the first team by two of her Seattle Pacific teammates. Sophia Chilczuk earned selection as a forward after leading the GNAC with 29 points. Chilczuk set the conference single-season record with 17 assists in addition to scoring six goals. She was named the GNAC Championships MVP after tallying four assists in two matches to help lead SPU to the conference title.

Falcons defender Madison Ibale, previously honored as the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, was also named first team All-West Region. Ibale anchored an SPU back line that allowed only nine goals in 20 matches while finding the net twice herself. Ibale has logged over 1,700 minutes at center back this season.

Western Washington also had three first-teamers and placed a fourth player on the second team. Forward Jenna Killman was honored as a first-team player after scoring 13 goals through 22 matches this season. Killman put herself on the map in the semifinals of the GNAC Championships against Northwest Nazarene, scoring the fastest hat-trick in conference history by tallying three goals in the opening 13:15 of the match. Killman also scored the game-winning goal in the Vikings’ second-round NCAA tournament win over Point Loma on Saturday.

Midfielder Tera Ziemer, the GNAC Newcomer of the Year, accumulated six goals and six assists for WWU after transferring from Division I Texas A&M. With her 5-foot-10 frame in central midfield, Ziemer excelled at hold-up play to retain possession or ignite the Vikings’ counter-attack. She assisted on all three of Killman’s goals during the GNAC Championships semifinal hat trick.

Defender Makenzie Burks rounded out the Vikings’ first-team selections, tallying six assists as WWU’s primary set piece taker and leading a Vikings back line that only gave up multiple goals three times all season.

Darby Doyle earned a second-team nod after recording four goals and five assists as a box-to-box midfielder for Western Washington. Joining Doyle on the second team from the GNAC was Northwest Nazarene forward Madison Grande. Grande scored nine goals, which led the Nighthawks and was tied for second in the GNAC at the end of the regular season. Grande’s three game-winning goals are tied for third in the conference.

The D2CCA All-West Region teams were voted on by sports information directors from the GNAC, PacWest and California Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) from a pool of nominated players from those three conferences. The 13 members of the All-West Region first team will now be placed on the national ballot for All-America consideration. The All-America teams will be released Wednesday, Dec. 7.