Vikings, Cavaliers Ranked In Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
Grace Eversaul was part of a Western Washington starting lineup that advanced to the West Regional final of the 2018 NCAA Division II Tournament.
Grace Eversaul was part of a Western Washington starting lineup that advanced to the West Regional final of the 2018 NCAA Division II Tournament.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – Two of the top teams in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference have landed on the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II Women’s Preseason Poll. Western Washington, the defending GNAC champion, enters its 2019 campaign ranked No. 11. Concordia, the GNAC tournament champion, enters ranked No. 22.

Western Washington won its sixth conference title in seven years under head coach Travis Connell with a record of 18-3-2 (10-1-1 GNAC). The Vikings will return 20 letterwinners and nine starters in 2019.

Returning for Western Washington is Natalie Dierickx. As a sophomore, the transfer goalkeeper proved to be an immediate impact for the Vikings, recording 73 saves, eight shutouts and a 0.53 GAA. Dierickx earned First Team All-GNAC, GNAC Newcomer of the Year, First Team United Soccer Coaches All-West Region and Second Team United Soccer Coaches All-America honors.

Western Washington lost First Team All-GNAC and Third Team D2CCA All-America defender Taylor Hallquist to graduation along with First Team All-GNAC and Second Team United Soccer Coaches All-America forward Gabriela Pelogi. The Vikings return senior defender Emily Nelson and Grace Eversaul. Nelson was a standout in 2018, earning First Team All-GNAC and All-West Region honors as a junior. Eversaul scored four goals last year in what was also a First Team All-GNAC campaign.

The Vikings also await the return of Karli White, who was injured for the entirety of the 2018 season. The redshirt senior transferred to Western Washington from Seattle University in 2017. During her first season as a Viking, she scored 10 goals and added eight assists on her way to becoming the 2017 GNAC Newcomer of the Year and GNAC Championships MVP.

Concordia finished second in conference play last season but was able to take down Western Washington 2-1 in overtime to win the GNAC Championships. The two teams would later play in the second round of the NCAA West Regional, where Western Washington would best Concordia 3-2 in overtime. The Vikings would then fall to UC San Diego in the NCAA West Regional Final.

Concordia returns 17 letterwinners and five starters, including senior forward Kyra Radcliffe, a Second Team All-GNAC selection. Radcliffe scored seven goals and added eight assists last season. Also returning at forward is senior Quinn Williams, an Honorable Mention All-GNAC selection in 2018 who scored four goals to add to eight assists as a junior.

Head coach Grant Landy will need to find replacements for two First Team All-GNAC selections in midfielders Kasey Ames and Gabrielle Ewing, who was also awarded Third Team All-West Region honors in 2018.

Western Washington will open its 2019 season on Sept. 5 at MSU Denver. Concordia will also open its season on Sept. 5 against Sonoma State at Warrior Stadium in Turlock, California.