Falcons Clinch Title, Secure Playoff Berth

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seattle Pacific clinched the GNAC women's soccer title Thursday with a 2-1 win at Northwest Nazarene.

Kellie Zakrzewski and Brandi Hamre each scored a first-half goal and the 13th-ranked Falcons (14-2-0, 11-1-0) held on to clinch their third consecutive GNAC crown.

“I'm very proud to be conference champions. That's something that we want to bring back to the University every year and I'm very proud to keep that going,” said SPU coach Chuck Sekyra.

SPU plays its final regular-season road game Saturday at Montana State Billings. The Yellowjackets (10-2-4, 7-1-4) put the only blemish on SPU's league ledger with a 1-0 win in Seattle on Sept. 29.

MSUB kept its playoff hopes alive with a 3-0 shutout of Central Washington Thursday at Yellowjacket Field.

Elsewhere, Western Washington (8-5-3, 7-4-1) blanked Saint Martin's 2-0, and Simon Fraser (2-10-2, 1-9-2) and Western Oregon (5-7-4, 4-5-3) played to a 1-1 standoff.

Zakrzewski scored her goal just 4:03 into Thursday's game with her league-leading ninth score. The sophomore forward dribbled down the center before sliding a 10-yard shot into the right side netting. That was her fifth goal in the last four games.

Hamre scored what proved to be the decisive goal at 27:43. Her 12-yard strike was assisted by a through ball from Mackenzie Laird.

The Crusaders (4-12, 2-10) made things interesting at the end, getting a goal at 86:57 on a four-yard header by Jenny Field.

NNU had a great opportunity at the equalizer but Sarah Staropoli's shot on a breakaway was smothered by Brooke Yokers with 1:14 showing on the clock.

Yokers made three saves for the Falcons, who posted a 12-7 shooting advantage. Yokers improved her record to 5-0 as SPU's starter, but the team's shutout streak was snapped at 456-minutes, 9-seconds.

Tanya Zickefoose stopped six shots for the Crusaders.

The Falcons extended their season-best winning streak to seven games with the win securing the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division II tournament.

Sekyra has now directed SPU into the playoffs in each of his nine seasons as head coach. His 2008 squad won the national championship.

Montana State Billings got an "own" goal and goals from Jaucelyn Richter and Kristen Kastelic in its victory.

The own goal came in the 29th minute when a shot from Richter deflected off the head of a defender into the net.

Richter scored her ninth goal of the season - matching Zakrzewski's league-leading total - at 33:22 tapping in a rebound off a shot by Heidi Greenback.

MSUB scored its final goal early in the second half at 48:29 as Kastelic headed in a corner kick from Adrienne Biglow.

The Yellowjackets outshot the Wildcats (8-4-4, 7-2-2) by a 12-7 count. MSUB's Danielle Gordon had three saves in recording her seventh shutout of the season. Kayla Lipston had four stops for Central.

Forward Kristin Maris scored both goals in Western Washington's victory as head coach Travis Connell recorded his 100th career victory.

It was the second straight win for the Vikings, who extended their unbeaten streak to three games (2-0-1).

Saint Martin's (3-11-2, 3-9-0) entered the game having won three of their last seven games following a 0-6-2 start.

“It was a good team win,” said Connell (9th year, 100-55-19). “We were a little short-handed today, but we got contributions from a lot of players.”

Maris enjoyed the first multi-goal day of her collegiate career, scoring in the 30th minute and again in the 69th minute.

“Brianna Jones served a fantastic ball from 40 yards and Kristin ran onto it and volleyed the ball in from 15 yards out,” said Connell.

“Her second goal came on a corner kick with Joana Houplin playing a perfect ball to the far post and Maris rising above everyone else and heading it in.”

The Vikings, who posted a 13-2 shot advantage and had all five corner kicks, were without leading scorer Emily Frankland, who missed a third straight game with a knee injury. Out with a muscle pull was forward Taylor Abrass.

Amelia Ng had 11 saves to earn Simon Fraser a draw against Western Oregon even though the Clan were outshot 21-5 and had a 13-1 corner kick disadvantage.

SFU scored the first goal of the game in the 17th minute as Karm Jawandha had an assisted strike. WOU, however, tied up the contest at 69:11 on a header by Kym Witmer. Lindsay Bauman was credited with an assist.