Falcons' Rietz Leads All-Conference Selections
Makena Rietz (right) earned GNAC Player of the Year honors after scoring a conference-high 10 goals. Also pictured is the GNAC Newcomer of the Year, WWU's Tera Ziemer (No. 19).
Makena Rietz (right) earned GNAC Player of the Year honors after scoring a conference-high 10 goals. Also pictured is the GNAC Newcomer of the Year, WWU's Tera Ziemer (No. 19).

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – Seattle Pacific midfielder Makena Rietz was chosen by the GNAC coaches as the conference Player of the Year after leading the conference with 10 goals. Rietz was also one of six First Team All-Conference unanimous selections.

Rietz, a senior from Walla Walla, Washington, broke out in a big way for the No. 4-ranked Falcons, starting all 17 matches and more than doubling her previous career total of eight goals. Rietz added two assists for a total of 22 points, which ranked second in the GNAC.

Seattle Pacific dominated the year-end awards in a way befitting a team that finished the GNAC season at 12-1-1 and won the regular season title by six points. Falcons senior defender Madison Ibale was honored as the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year after leading an SPU back line that allowed only seven goals in 17 matches. Falcons head coach Arby Busey earned his first Coach of the Year award after leading the Falcons to a regular-season title for the first time since 2011, when Busey was an assistant coach.

Western Washington’s Tera Ziemer earned the Newcomer of the Year award, tallying six goals and three assists after transferring to WWU from Division I Texas A&M. Ziemer had an especially hot start to the season, scoring four goals – including three game-winners – in her opening four matches. She finished as the second-leading scorer for the No. 13 Vikings. Her six goals are tied for fifth in the conference and her 15 points are tied for sixth.

Seattle Pacific’s Lauren Forster and Montana State Billings’ Liberty Palmer share the Freshman of the Year award. Forster contributed to the profilic Falcons attack with nine goals, which tied for second in the GNAC, and three assists. Her 21 total points ranked third in the conference. Palmer tallied five goals and ranked fifth in the GNAC with 48 shots, establishing herself as the primary offensive threat for a Yellowjackets team that remained in playoff contention until the season’s final week.

The All-Conference First Team was dominated by the GNAC’s top two teams, with Seattle Pacific and Western Washington each placing five players on the 12-player squad. Seattle Pacific’s Sophia Chilczuk and Western Washington’s Natalie Dierickx are the only returning members from the 2019-20 first team.

Chilczuk leads this year’s crop of first team forwards after leading the conference with 13 assists, just three off the single-season conference record. Chilczuk’s 0.81 assists per match rank second in Division II. The senior also chipped in six goals for a conference-leading 25 points.

The other three first-team forwards – Forster, Western Washington’s Jenna Killman and Northwest Nazarene’s Madison Grande – all finished with nine goals, one behind Rietz for the conference lead. Killman had two assists on the season, both of which came in a 6-0 rout of Central Washington in which Killman also scored twice. Grande, a sophomore, led the Nighthawks in scoring on their way to a third-place finish and their first playoff berth since 2017. Grande is NNU’s first First Team All-Conference selection since that 2017 season.

Rietz joined the Western Washington duo of Ziemer and Darby Doyle as the midfield first team selections. Doyle finished with four goals and five assists and became WWU’s all-time program leader in games played late in the season.

Ibale led three defenders to be named to the first team. A stalwart at center back, Ibale has started all 17 matches and leads SPU with 1,449 minutes played. The senior also found her way forward for two goals on the season. Western Washington’s Makenzie Burks earned selection after logging 1,548 minutes at center back for a stout Vikings defense that conceded 11 goals in 19 matches. Burks also provided immense value as a set piece taker. Her six assists ranked third in the GNAC.

Western Oregon defender Jada Foster joined Forster as the two freshmen on the first team. Foster earned praise from opposing coaches for consistently marking the opposition’s best attacking player. She also contributed three goals for the Wolves, tying for second on the team in that category.

The first team was rounded out by the two goalkeepers from the GNAC’s two ranked powerhouses. Dierickx recorded a 0.60 goals against average and an .857 save percentage while keeping seven shutouts. Seattle Pacific’s Riley Travis had a 0.42 goals against average, ranking ninth in Division II, and an .864 save percentage with nine shutouts.

Chilczuk, Grande, Rietz, Doyle, Burks and Dierickx were unanimous selections. Chilczuk and Dierickx each earned their third first-team selections. Doyle and Travis each have a previous second-team appearance to their credit.

Eleven of the 12 first-team selections will be participating in the GNAC Championships this weekend in Bellingham, Washington, with the conference’s automatic NCAA regionals berth on the line. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at


Player of the Year: Makena Reitz, Seattle Pacific
Coach of the Year: Arby Busey, Seattle Pacific
Defensive Player of the Year: Madison Ibale, Seattle Pacific
Freshman of the Year: Lauren Forster, Seattle Pacific & Liberty Palmer, Montana State Billings
Newcomer of the Year: Tera Ziemer, Western Washington

FIRST TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
*+!^ Sophia Chilczuk Seattle Pacific F 5-11 Sr. Kent, Wash. (Kentridge)
* Madison Grande Northwest Nazarene F 5-5 So. Gig Harbor, Wash. (Concordia Univ., Ore.)
Jenna Killman Western Washington F 5-6 Sr. Olympia, Wash. (Univ. of New Mexico)
Lauren Forster Seattle Pacific F 5-10 Fr. Olympia, Wash. (Olympia)
*@ Makena Rietz Seattle Pacific M 5-7 Sr. Walla Walla, Wash. (Walla Walla)
Tera Ziemer Western Washington M 5-10 Jr. Santa Rosa, Calif. (Texas A&M Univ.)
*# Darby Doyle Western Washington M 5-4 Sr. Spokane, Wash. (Gonzaga Prep)
Madison Ibale Seattle Pacific D 5-8 Sr. Kent, Wash. (Kentridge)
*@ Makenzie Burks Western Washington D 5-6 So. Tacoma, Wash. (Stadium)
Jada Foster Western Oregon D 5-8 Fr. Corvallis, Ore. (Crescent Valley)
*+! Natalie Dierickx Western Washington GK 5-7 Sr. Kirkland, Wash. (Colorado State Univ.)
@& Riley Travis Seattle Pacific GK 5-6 Sr. Seattle, Wash. (Ballard)
SECOND TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Liberty Palmer Montana State Billings F 5-6 Fr. Maple Valley, Wash. (Tahoma)
@ Claire Neder Seattle Pacific F 5-7 Sr. Spokane, Wash. (Mead)
Makinzie Packwood Central Washington F 5-10 Sr. Clarkston, Wash. (Clarkston)
@$ Sydney Lowe Central Washington M 5-3 Sr. Tumwater, Wash. (Black Hills)
+ Chloe Gellhaus Seattle Pacific M 5-8 Jr. Spokane, Wash. (East Valley)
Piper Matson Western Oregon M 5-6 Fr. Eugene, Ore. (Sheldon)
Kate Bleffert Northwest Nazarene D 5-8 Fr. Driggs, Idaho (Teton)
Jordyn Jolley Saint Martin’s D 5-9 Fr. Yakima, Wash. (A.C. Davis)
@ Emma Lobo Simon Fraser D 5-3 Sr. North Vancouver, B.C. (Windsor)
Hannah Rispler Western Oregon D 6-0 So. Gresham, Ore. (Barlow)
Alexis Montoya Northwest Nazarene GK 5-6 Jr. West Jordan, Utah (Northern State Univ.)
Clare Keenan Montana State Billings GK 5-6 Fr. Tallahassee, Fla. (Coastal Carolina Univ.)
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
+ Sophia Keenan Central Washington M 5-7 Sr. Vancouver, Wash. (Columbia River)
Hailee Gertsch Montana State Billings D 5-8 Fr. Billings, Mont. (Skyview)
Haylee Gunter Montana State Billings M 5-8 Sr. Buckley, Wash. (White River)
Sydney Wate Montana State Billings D 5-4 Fr. Auburn, Wash. (Auburn Riverside)
Mckenzie Buell Northwest Nazarene M 5-7 Sr. Arlington, Wash. (Highline CC)
# Chandler Kauffman Northwest Nazarene D 5-8 Jr. Redondo Beach, Calif. (Redondo Union)
Ashley Parton Northwest Nazarene F 5-6 Jr. Leavenworth, Wash. (Cascade)
Jade Zimmer Northwest Nazarene M 5-7 Sr. Denver, Colo. (George Washington)
Sophie Beadle Seattle Pacific F 5-3 So. Rainier, Wash. (Rainier)
Payton Aselton Saint Martin’s M 5-9 Fr. Adna, Wash. (Adna)
# Ali Campigotto Saint Martin’s GK 5-5 So. Gig Harbor, Wash. (Peninsula)
Shelby Clayton Saint Martin’s D 5-7 Fr. Lake Tapps, Wash. (Auburn)
@ Kiara Buono Simon Fraser F 5-6 So. Coquitlam, B.C. (Centennial)
Jeneiva Musico Simon Fraser D 5-7 So. Surrey, B.C. (Fleetwood Park)
+ Giuliana Zaurrini Simon Fraser F 5-5 So. Burnaby, B.C. (Alpha)
Jenna Efraimson Western Oregon M 5-6 Jr. Camas, Wash. (Univ. of Idaho)
Erika Gonzalez Moreno Western Oregon M 5-6 So. Hillsboro, Ore. (Glencoe)
+!^Grace Eversaul Western Washington M 5-7 Sr. Vancouver, Wash. (Skyview)
Katie Watt Western Washington D 5-7 So. Seattle, Wash. (Bishop Blanchet)
* - Unanimous Selection     
+ - First Team Selection in 2019    
# - Second Team Selection in 2019 
@ - Honorable Mention Selection in 2019
! - First Team Selection in 2018    
& - Second Team Selection in 2018 
$ - Honorable Mention Selection in 2018
^ - Honorable Mention in 2017     
Copyright ©2024 Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All Rights Reserved.