Vikings Retake GNAC Lead Ahead Of SPU Rematch
Tera Ziemer (No. 19) celebrates a goal against Simon Fraser. Ziemer ranks 12th in Division II with four game-winning goals.
Tera Ziemer (No. 19) celebrates a goal against Simon Fraser. Ziemer ranks 12th in Division II with four game-winning goals.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The race for the No. 1 seed in the GNAC standings seems poised to go down to the wire as the lead has now changed hands three times in as many weeks.

Seattle Pacific dropped points for just the second time this season, playing to a 1-1 draw at Montana State Billings on Saturday. Liberty Palmer scored her team-leading fourth goal to put the Yellowjackets ahead. Lauren Forster equalized for SPU, but MSUB goalkeeper Clare Keenan made six saves to keep the Falcons out of the net the rest of the way. The Falcons were stopped in their tracks after opening the week with a dominating 7-0 win over Central Washington. Forster scored twice in that game, earning GNAC Offensive Player of the Week for her three goals.

Western Washington had a perfect week, earning two shutout victories over Saint Martin’s and Simon Fraser to improve to 21 points, two ahead of Seattle Pacific. Northwest Nazarene equaled the Vikings with two shutout wins. Nighthawks goalie Alexis Montoya won Defensive Player of the Week after making 17 saves while not allowing a goal, including 11 against the Yellowjackets.

All eyes will be on Harrington Field this Thursday night when the GNAC regular-season title could very well be on the line in the rematch between SPU and Western Washington. Both teams will bring top-10 national defenses into the encounter as well as high United Soccer Coaches poll rankings. The Vikings rose 11 spots to No. 12, while SPU rose four spots to No. 4 despite the draw, as chaos elsewhere in the country helped the Falcons in the polls.


Lauren Forster, Seattle Pacific
F • 5-7 • Sophomore • Olympia, Wash.
Forster came off the bench to score three goals and lead Seattle Pacific to a win and a tie on the road. She scored in the 26th and 67th minutes to fuel the Falcons to a 7-0 rout at Central Washington, then found the equalizer in the 68th minute of a 1-1 draw with MSUB. Forster only needed six shots to score her three goals and is on a five-game points streak.

Also Nominated: Liberty Palmer (MSUB), Giuliana Zaurrini (SFU), Maddie Wolff (SMU), Alyssa Talkington (WOU), Jenna Killman (WWU)

Alexis Montoya, Northwest Nazarene
GK • 5-6 • Junior • West Jordan, Utah
Montoya totaled 17 saves across two 1-0 shutouts for the Nighthawks this week. She had 11 in the win over MSUB on Thursday before recording six in a win at Central Washington. The 11 saves are the second-most by a GNAC player in a single game this year. Montoya now has five shutouts this season, including three in the past four matches.  

Also Nominated: Clare Keenan (MSUB), Ali Campigotto (SMU), Camille Darland (WOU), Makenzie Burks (WWU)


• Central Washington endured a tough week, losing 7-0 to Seattle Pacific on Thursday and 1-0 to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.
• The Wildcats failed to record a shot on goal against Seattle Pacific but forced Nighthawks goalkeeper Alexis Montoya into six saves in Saturday’s contest. Sophomore midfielder Emily Darcy led the way with two shots on goal against NNU.
• Freshman goalkeeper Kassandra Jaggard came on in relief of Liz Canton for the final 15 minutes of the match against NNU. Jaggard has yet to concede a goal in two appearances totaling 31 minutes this season, making three saves.
• Canton rebounded from the SPU match against the Nighthawks, making nine saves while only allowing one goal. Canton ranks second in the GNAC with 53 total saves and 5.89 saves per match. As a team, Central Washington leads the GNAC and ranks 21st in Division II with 7.42 saves per match.
• Senior midfielder Sydney Lowe (three goals, one assist) and senior forward Makinzie Packwood (two goals, three assists) are tied for the team lead with seven points.  
• After four consecutive home matches, Central Washington will hit the road this week to play Saint Martin’s on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday.

• Montana State Billings lost 1-0 to Northwest Nazarene before earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw with No. 4 Seattle Pacific on Saturday.
Liberty Palmer scored the opener in the 25th minute to give MSUB a momentary lead against Seattle Pacific. Palmer is tied for fourth in the GNAC in goals (four), tied for fifth in points (nine) and third in shots (38). She leads the Yellowjackets in all the above categories.
• While MSUB was unable to break through against Northwest Nazarene and Defensive Player of the Week Alexis Montoya, it wasn’t for lack of trying. The Yellowjackets recorded 11 shots on goal, which matched a season high. Nine different players put a shot on target, with Palmer and Leila Clark each recording two. Montana State Billings ranks third in the GNAC with 170 total shots.
• Goalkeeper Clare Keenan played all 180 minutes of this week’s action, making 10 saves against two goals allowed. Keenan ranks third in the GNAC with 52 total saves and 5.2 saves per match.
• Behind Palmer, freshman Jordan Roe (two goals, two assists), sophomore Sydney Torres (three goals) and freshman Maddie Smith (one goal, three assists) are the trio of forwards making things happen for the Yellowjackets.
• Montana State Billings will have to reckon with two top-half GNAC teams on the road, traveling to Simon Fraser on Thursday and No. 12 Western Washington on Saturday.

• Northwest Nazarene recorded a pair of 1-0 victories against Montana State Billings on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday. The Nighthawks have gone unbeaten in their last four matches to storm up to third place in the GNAC standings.
• Goalkeeper Alexis Montoya has been integral to that run, recording shutouts in three of her last four matches. This week, Montoya made 17 saves without conceding a goal, earning her second GNAC Defensive Player of the Week award of the season.
• Montoya was especially needed against Montana State Billings, making 11 saves in a shutout win, which was a season-high for Montoya and the second-most by a GNAC player this season. Montoya leads the GNAC with 68 saves and 6.18 saves per match. She ranks third in the GNAC in goals against average (0.92) and save percentage (.872), ranking 21st in Division II in the latter category.
• The goal against MSUB came from sophomore defender Makayla Roggow in the 37th minute off an assist from Magda Wronski. Wronski is tied for third in the GNAC with four assists. Junior forward Ashley Parton scored against Central Washington in the 63rd minute off a throw-in from Kailyn LaBrosse.
• Forward Madison Grande ranks tied for fourth in the GNAC in goals (four), tied for fifth in points (nine) and fourth in shots (36).
• The Nighthawks rose two spots to No. 8 in the United Soccer Coaches West Region poll.
• Northwest Nazarene will look to cement their top-four standing on the road against Western Oregon on Thursday and Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

• Saint Martin’s suffered a pair of narrow one-goal defeats, losing 1-0 to No. 12 Western Washington on Thursday and 2-1 to Western Oregon on Saturday.
• The Saints split goalkeeper duties for the week. Ali Campigotto got the start against the Vikings and made six saves while allowing one goal. Fellow sophomore Soph Mendoza played 90 minutes against Western Oregon and stopped three shots while letting in two. Campigotto ranks fifth in the GNAC with 37 saves.
• Saint Martin’s put five shots on target in the loss against Western Washington. Elizabeth Cole and Rebecca Garrison each had two of them. Garrison leads the team with two assists.
• Sophomore forward Maddie Wolff saved Saint Martin’s from a scoreless week by punching in an 89th-minute goal against the Wolves to bring SMU within one. Wolff now has three goals this year to lead the Saints. Kiersten Madsen (two goals) is the only other player to score more than once.
• Wolff is tied for third in the GNAC with two game-winning goals.
• The Saints will play twice at home this week, against Central Washington on Thursday and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Seattle Pacific romped to a 7-0 victory over Central Washington on Thursday before tying 1-1 on the road with MSU Billings on Saturday.
• Sophomore forward Lauren Forster was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this year after scoring three goals over the week’s two matches. Forster scored twice against Central, then netted the equalizer in the 1-1 draw with MSUB. She now leads the GNAC with seven goals and 16 points.
• Aside from Forster’s brace, all of SPU’s usual suspects got on the score sheet, which read like a who’s who of GNAC offensive leaders. Chloe Gellhaus (three goals, three assists), Sophia Chilczuk (three goals, six assists), Claire Nader (two goals, five assists), AJ DePinto (five goals, three assists) and Jacqueline Blakely (two goals) all found the net for the Falcons against CWU.  
• Behind Forster, DePinto is tied for second in the GNAC with five goals while Makena Rietz is one of four players tied for fourth at four goals. SPU leads the GNAC and ranks 14th in Division II with 2.82 goals per match.
• Chilczuk leads the GNAC with six assists and ranks 12th in Division II with 0.6 assists per match. The Falcons rank seventh in Division II with 2.55 assists per match.
• Goalkeeper Riley Travis is having a dominant season, ranking third in Division II with a 0.23 goals against average and tied for fifth in Division II with a .920 save percentage. However, Travis missed the Falcons’ last two games. In her place, junior Kaitlynn Knocke received her first two starts of the season, going untested against CWU and making three saves against MSUB.
• The Falcons rose four spots to No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches national poll, and remained at No. 1 in the West Region Poll. It is the Falcons’ highest national ranking since 2009.
• The biggest match of the GNAC regular season looms on Thursday as the Falcons travel to Bellingham to face No. 12 Western Washington. It will be a rematch of a 1-0 SPU overtime win from Oct. 9. The Falcons then face Simon Fraser across the border on Saturday.

• Simon Fraser had a complete performance on Thursday in a 3-0 road win against Western Oregon before losing 2-0 to No. 12 Western Washington on Saturday.
• Goalkeeper Nicole Anderson made one save against Western Oregon to record SFU’s first shutout of the season. Simon Fraser had yet to record a shutout despite allowing the third-fewest goals in the GNAC.
• It was Anderson’s first start of this season, but she previously started 29 games for Simon Fraser in 2018 and 2019. Anderson also played 90 minutes against the Vikings, making eight saves while conceding two goals.
• Against the Wolves, SFU relied on the lethal set piece combination of leading scorer Giuliana Zaurrini and freshman Emma Ferraro. Ferraro headed in a Zaurrini corner kick to open the scoring in the 40th minute. Just seven minutes later, the duo linked up off another corner. This time, Ferraro’s shot was saved, but Reagan Mackenzie pounced on the rebound, giving Zaurrini and Ferraro assists. Zaurrini sealed the game with a goal of her own in the 66th minute.
• Simon Fraser’s corner kick prowess has been evident all season. Kate Cartier and Zaurrini have each scored goals directly off corner kicks without another player touching the ball. Zaurrini has three goals this year while Cartier has two, the only SFU players with more than one.
• Simon Fraser will host two tough opponents as they cling to the final top-four spot in the conference standings. On Thursday, they welcome Montana State Billings fresh off a 1-1 draw with No. 4 Seattle Pacific before those same Falcons come to Burnaby on Saturday.

• Western Oregon’s four-match unbeaten run came to a halt with a 3-0 loss at the hands of Simon Fraser on Thursday, but the Wolves bounced back with a 2-1 win over Saint Martin’s on Saturday.
• Western Oregon pivoted to their third different starting goalkeeper of the season this week. Emily Wheeler exited after 76 minutes down 3-0 to SFU and was replaced by freshman Olivia Holdenreid, who made one save in the final 22 minutes. Holdenreid received her first collegiate start against Saint Martin’s on Saturday and made one save in the victory.
• Despite a season-high 20 shots against Saint Martin’s, it took WOU over 87 minutes to find the net against Soph Mendoza. Once they did, however, it didn’t take them long to do it again. Junior defender Jenna Efraimson scored in the 88th minute off a run and cross from Lilly Nowatzke. Just 26 seconds later, Alyssa Talkington took an SMU backpass off the foot of Mendoza and beat the Saints keeper to the ball to tap it in the open net for her second goal of the season.
Jada Foster and Piper Matson each have three goals to lead the Wolves on the year. They join Nowatzke, Talkington and Liz Parker as WOU freshmen with multiple points. Sophomore forward Chloe Smith has been the Wolves’ most dangerous offensive player despite not yet finding the net. Smith ranks tied for third in the GNAC with four assists and seventh in the GNAC with 29 shots.
• Western Oregon has the week at home, playing Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday in Monmouth.

• Western Washington notched a pair of shutout wins, defeating Saint Martin’s 1-0 on Thursday and Simon Fraser 2-0 on Saturday.
• Goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx was in net for both shutouts to bring her season total to eight. Dierickx is now the only GNAC goalie to appear in all of her team’s matches this season.  
• The Vikings’ defense has been suffocating of late, keeping shutouts in five of WWU’s last six matches. They have allowed one goal in the past 560 minutes, which was the overtime game-winner in the 1-0 loss to No. 4 Seattle Pacific. Western Washington ranks seventh in Division II with a 0.40 goals against average and sixth in Division II with an .894 save percentage.
Jenna Killman scored the game-winner against SMU in the 61st minute with an assist from forward Dayana Diaz. Killman ranks tied for fourth in the GNAC with four goals and second in the GNAC with 42 shots, behind teammate and senior midfielder Grace Eversaul, who leads the conference with 44.
Tera Ziemer opened the scoring against Simon Fraser on a wonderful give-and-go with freshman forward Sophie Bearden Croft. It was Ziemer’s fifth goal of the season, tying her with SPU’s AJ DePinto for second in the GNAC. Ziemer ranks tied for 12th in Division II with four game-winning goals. Darby Doyle scored her third goal of the season in the 78th minute to finish off SFU.
• Western Washington leads the conference in shots (284) and corner kicks (90) and is second in goals (24), assists (25) and points (73).
• The Vikings rose 11 spots to No. 12 in the United Soccer Coaches National Poll Vikand rose two spots to No. 2 in the West Region Poll behind rivals Seattle Pacific.
• Western Washington will look to avenge their only loss of the season, a 1-0 overtime defeat on Oct. 9, when they host No. 4 Seattle Pacific on Thursday. With both teams ranking in the top 10 nationally in goals against average, another low-scoring affair could be on the cards. The Vikings will have to have their guard up to avoid a letdown on Saturday against Montana State Billings, who played SPU to a 1-1 draw last Saturday.