Unbeaten Week Leads To Buzz Around Yellowjackets
Members of the Montana State Billings soccer team, including captain Lexie Bloyder (No. 6), celebrate during a game.
Members of the Montana State Billings soccer team, including captain Lexie Bloyder (No. 6), celebrate during a game.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


Led by a five-point week from GNAC Offensive Player of the Week Liberty Palmer, Montana State Billings went undefeated across three matches. Picked to finish sixth in the conference preseason poll, MSUB moved into third in the GNAC standings behind the projected top two of Seattle Pacific and Western Washington entering the final week of non-conference play.

After drawing with Mary early in the week, the Yellowjackets soundly defeated MSU Moorhead 3-0 and topped Mary in the rematch on Saturday 2-0, getting goals from Palmer in both wins. A back line anchored by defender Hailee Gertsch and the goalkeeping tandem of Clare Keenan and Tuva Sallvin has only conceded two goals in five games.

Western Washington had the biggest statement win of the week, taking down No. 5 Sonoma State 2-1 thanks to an 87th-minute goal from Tera Ziemer. The Vikings remain unbeaten in three matches and rose to No. 8 in the national poll. Preseason No. 5 Seattle Pacific played for the first time, coming back to beat Chico State 2-1. Sophia Chilczuk, last season’s GNAC leading scorer, picked up right where she left off with a goal and an assist.

Only four of the GNAC’s eight teams will take the pitch this week, with the rest having completed their non-conference slate ahead of GNAC play starting next Thursday, Sept. 23. After hosting Fraser Valley last week, Simon Fraser will host another all-B.C. matchup, taking on fierce rivals University of British Columbia on Thursday.

The GNAC’s three Evergreen State teams will all have an opportunity to boost their national profiles this week. No. 22 Point Loma will travel to both Central Washington and Western Washington, giving the Wildcats their first test against a ranked foe this year. Seattle Pacific, attempting to re-enter the national rankings as they are currently receiving votes, will have two CCAA road matches this week, which could have potentially significant regional ranking implications down the road.


Liberty Palmer, Montana State Billings
F • 5-6 • Freshman • Maple Valley, Wash.
Palmer led all GNAC players with two goals and five total points, helping MSUB to a 2-0-1 week. The true freshman’s first career assist came in a team’s 1-1 double-overtime draw against Mary last Monday. Palmer then scored a goal apiece in MSUB’s 3-0 win over MSU Moorhead and 2-0 victory over Mary.

Also Nominated: Bella Brown (CWU), Madison Grande (NNU), Sophia Chilczuk (SPU), Jada Foster (WOU), Tera Ziemer (WWU)

Natalie Dierickx, Western Washington
GK • 5-7 • Senior • Kirkland, Wash.
Dierickx made six saves in WWU’s 2-1 win over No. 5 nationally-ranked Sonoma State, holding back a team that entered the match outscoring opponents 10-0 in three previous matches.

Also Nominated: Kassandra Jaggard (CWU), Hailee Gertsch (MSUB), Ali Campigotto (SMU), Darien Walton (WOU)


• Central Washington fell 4-1 to Humboldt State on Friday in its only match of the week.
 • Bella Brown scored for the Wildcats in the closing minutes of the loss to Humboldt. It was the senior midfielder’s first goal of the year and the second of her career.
• The scoreboard has been busy in CWU games this season. The Wildcats are both scoring (1.67 goals per match) and conceding (2.67 goals per match) more than anyone else in the GNAC.
• The Wildcats play host on Saturday to No. 22 Point Loma in their final tune-up before GNAC play begins.
• It will be the first game in an elevated role for Emmy Koflanovich, who will be leading the team on an interim basis after former head coach Michael Farrand resigned on Sept. 14.

• Montana State Billings is on a three-match unbeaten run. Last week, MSUB soundly defeated MSU Moorhead 3-0 on Thursday, then beat Mary 2-0 on Saturday.
• Liberty Palmer won the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week Award after scoring two goals and an assist in the three matches for a total of five points.  
 • Each of the goal-scorers for Billings against MSU Moorhead – Palmer, Sydney Torres and Kendall McGraw – notched their first goals in an MSUB uniform.
• Lexie Bloyder opened the scoring against Mary on Saturday with a 24th-minute strike before Palmer doubled the lead in the 58th minute.
• The Yellowjackets are choosing to split goalkeeper duties between Clare Keenan and Tuva Sallvin, and both are performing well. Sallvin has yet to concede a goal in 180 minutes played while making 11 saves. Keenan has conceded two goals in 290 minutes played, making 13 saves.
• MSUB cracked the United Soccer Coaches West Region Poll this week, slotting in at No. 10.
• Montana State Billings has this week off as it prepares for the start of GNAC play.

• Northwest Nazarene had an 0-1-1 week, dropping a 3-2 match in overtime to Colorado Mesa on Thursday before grinding out a 1-1 draw with then-No. 13 Westminster (Utah) on Saturday.
• Madison Grande was the offensive hero of the week for the Nighthawks. The sophomore midfielder scored against Mesa to momentarily give NNU a 2-1 lead, then netted a dramatic 85th-minute equalizer to salvage the draw with Westminster. Grande scored three goals in nine games during her first taste of collegiate action in the spring 2021 season.
• Graduate midfielder Jade Zimmer scored the first goal of the game against Mesa in the 30th minute.
• Northwest Nazarene leads the GNAC with 32 total corner kicks.
• Goalkeeper Alexis Montoya’s 24 saves lead the GNAC and are the 13th-highest amount in Division II.
•The Nighthawks fell out of the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 after being No. 10 last week. In the West Region poll, NNU fell five spots to No. 7.
•Northwest Nazarene does not have a match this week as it prepares for the start of GNAC play. They end the non-conference portion of their season with a 2-1-1 record.

• Saint Martin’s lost on Friday to Corban 2-0, but NAIA in-state rival Evergreen State proved to be just what the doctor ordered as the Saints recorded their first win of the season by routing the Geoducks 4-0 on Monday.
• Senior midfielder Kristen Madsen fittingly scored the Saints’ first goal of the season in the 16th minute against Evergreen State. Madsen’s five goals in the spring 2021 season led the team, and this season, her nine shots are the most on the team and 10th in the conference.
• Senior defender Daeh Lindquist found the net in the 23rd minute off an assist from Rachel Kimura to make it 2-0. For Lindquist, who has played over 4,000 minutes in her college career, it was her first career goal in her 52nd career game.
• In the second half, sophomore defender Salma Perez provided some insurance in the 68th minute, and freshman midfielder Mia Fleming made it a rout three minutes later off an assist from Jordyn Jolley.  
• Saint Martin’s does not play this week as it prepares for the start of GNAC play. They end the non-conference portion of their season with a 1-3 record.

• Seattle Pacific got its season off and running last week, coming back from being down at halftime to defeat Chico State 2-1 on Saturday in their first match of the year.
• Sophia Chilczuk, who exploded for 10 goals in nine games in the shortened spring season, got her fall season off to a promising start. Her shot in the 65th minute was deflected by Chico goalkeeper Emma Hoffman, and junior midfielder Chloe Gellhaus pounced to put in the rebound to tie the score. Then, in the 85th minute, Chilczuk emerged with the ball after a scramble in front of Chico’s net and fired into the lower right corner for the game-winner.
• Seattle Pacific received votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll for the second straight week.
• The team will head to California this week to face two CCAA schools on the road. The Falcons will battle San Francisco State on Thursday before facing Stanislaus State on Saturday.

• Simon Fraser played fellow Canadian school Fraser Valley on Saturday, losing 1-0 on a late goal.
• Sophomore forward Giuliana Zaurrini contributed a team-leading three shots against Fraser Valley, also recording one of the team’s three shots on goal.
• Simon Fraser will host archrivals University of British Columbia at the new SFU Stadium at Terry Fox Field in Burnaby. The last time the two schools met was in August 2018, where UBC won 1-0.

• Western Oregon performed well against tough competition, losing 2-0 to then-No. 5 Sonoma State on Friday before coming away with a 1-0 victory on Sunday over a Humboldt State program that had previously beaten Central Washington by a 4-1 score.
 • Freshman defender Jada Foster has both goals scored by the Wolves this season, adding to her one from last week by netting the Humboldt match’s only goal in the 12th minute on a rebound from a shot by Piper Matson.
 • Freshman forward Briana Kubli came off the bench to contribute two of WOU’s five shots on goal against Humboldt in 51 minutes of action.
• Western Oregon does not play this week as it prepares for the start of GNAC play. They end the non-conference portion of their season with a 1-3 record.

• Western Washington earned a statement win over then-No. 5 Sonoma State on Sunday thanks to an 87-minute winner from Tera Ziemer.
• Ziemer’s goal was set up by a right-wing cross from redshirt junior forward Sophie Butterfield that was flicked on by the head of senior midfielder Grace Eversaul. Ziemer ran onto the ball in stride and finished in the top right corner for the win.
• Although she hasn’t scored yet, sophomore Estera Levinte might be the most dangerous offensive player in the GNAC so far this season. Levinte has the solo conference lead with 18 shots and three assists.
• Sophomore forward Jenna Killman scored the first goal against Sonoma State in the 6th minute, which was set up by a cross from Levinte and a flick from Eversaul. The Vikings are averaging two assists per game, while no other GNAC team is averaging more than 1.5.  
• Senior goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx won the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week award after making six saves to contain No. 5 Sonoma State to one goal when the Seawolves came in averaging nearly 3.5 per game.
• Western Washington leaped up ten spots to No. 8 in the Sept. 14 United Soccer Coaches Poll. In addition, the head-to-head win over Sonoma State meant that the Vikings took the No. 1 spot in the West Region poll away from the Seawolves.
• The Vikings will have two home games to wrap up their non-conference slate this week, facing Biola on Saturday and welcoming No. 22 Point Loma to Bellingham on Monday, Sept. 20.


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