Three Teams, Two Matches, One Playoff Berth
Haylee Gunter (No. 14) celebrates her game-winner against Saint Martin's, one of three goals the senior captain scored this week.
Haylee Gunter (No. 14) celebrates her game-winner against Saint Martin's, one of three goals the senior captain scored this week.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Three teams locked up spots in the women’s soccer GNAC Championships this past week, but as for the No. 4 seed? With a week to go in the season, it’s anybody’s guess.  

Seattle Pacific, Western Washington and Northwest Nazarene have clinched playoff berths, but any of Simon Fraser, Montana State Billings or Western Oregon could end up with the fourth and final spot with two matches left to play.

Montana State Billings is threatening to crash the playoff party because of two clutch wins in their past two matches. GNAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week Haylee Gunter scored three of the Yellowjackets’ four goals in a pair of 2-1 wins over Western Oregon and Saint Martin’s.

Northwest Nazarene clinched Saturday after a 0-0 draw with Simon Fraser, but the groundwork was laid Thursday with the Nighthawks’ monumental win over Western Washington. It was the first time NNU had beaten the Vikings since 2003. Co-Offensive Player of the Week Madison Grande had both goals in a 2-1 win. Defensive Player of the Week Alexis Montoya made 10 saves over the course of the week and set a program record with her 19th career shutout against SFU.

Looking ahead, a Saturday match-up in Burnaby between Simon Fraser and Western Oregon looms large with the possibility it could be a winner-take-all match for the No. 4 seed. Seattle Pacific can clinch their first regular-season championship since 2011 by winning either of their remaining matches against CWU or NNU.


The GNAC Women’s Soccer Championships, hosted by Western Washington, will take place Nov. 11-13 and at Harrington Field in Bellingham.

The top four teams in the regular season GNAC standings will qualify for the championships. Seattle Pacific, hosts Western Washington and Northwest Nazarene have clinched the top three spots while the fourth has yet to be determined. Two semifinals, between the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds and the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, will be contested on Thursday, Nov. 11 before a championship match on Saturday, Nov. 13 to determine the GNAC’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division II regionals.

Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased by going to Only 500 tickets will be sold for each of the Thursday and Saturday sessions. Advanced tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors (65 and older), students (high school and college) and children ages 3-12. Children under the age of 2 are admitted free. All tickets will be $2 more if purchased onsite at the gate.

In order to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance at the GNAC Women’s Soccer Championships, face masks are to be worn at all times regardless of vaccination status. This includes spectators, volunteers and staff. The only exception is for student-athletes actively participating in the contest.

All three matches of the GNAC Women’s Soccer Championships will be streamed live at Andrew Harvey will provide the play-by-play with Jim Harvey providing analysis.


Haylee Gunter, Montana State Billings
M • 5-8 • Senior • Buckley, Wash.
Gunter had the biggest week of her career, scoring three goals – including both game-winners – in MSUB’s two victories to keep their playoff hopes alive. She scored MSUB’s second goal in a 2-1 win over Western Oregon on Thursday and both goals in a 2-1 win over Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

Madison Grande, Northwest Nazarene
M • 5-5 • Sophomore • Gig Harbor, Wash.
Grande scored two goals in NNU’s 1-0-1 week, with both coming in the historic 2-1 win over Western Washington on Thursday, the Nighthawks’ first win over the Vikings since 2003.

Also Nominated: Sophia Keenan (CWU), Alyssa Talkington (WOU), Jenna Killman (WWU)

Alexis Montoya, Northwest Nazarene
GK • 5-6 • Junior • West Jordan, UT
Montoya allowed one goal in 200 minutes of action, earning a win over No. 8 Western Washington before shutting out Simon Fraser for 110 minutes in a 0-0 draw, totaling 10 saves. Montoya set an NNU program record with her 19th career shutout.

Also Nominated: Taylor Gertsch (MSUB), Kelsey Fisher (SFU), Olivia Holdenried (WOU)


• Central Washington had a 1-1 week at home, knocking off Simon Fraser 2-0 on Thursday before losing 6-0 to Western Washington on Saturday.
• The Wildcats got a goal on either side of halftime to earn the win over Simon Fraser. Midfielder Paige Devine scored in the 24th minute off a through ball from Makinzie Packwood. It was Devine’s first goal of the season. She leads CWU with 1,272 minutes played. Packwood leads the team and ranks tied for fourth in the GNAC with five assists.
Sophia Keenan capped the scoring in the 83rd minute with an assist from defender Tess Sparks. Keenan now has two goals and two assists this season, and ranks third on the Wildcats in shots (21).
• Despite the final score, CWU put Western Washington’s defense under some pressure with eight shots on goal, including two each from Devine and midfielder Sydney Lowe. Lowe leads the team in shots (32) and goals (4), and ranks 21st in Division II in shot accuracy, putting 65.6 percent of her shots on target.
Liz Canton and Megan Fox split goalkeeping duties in half in both matches. For the week, Canton made five saves while allowing three goals. Fox made four saves while allowing three goals. Canton ranks second in the GNAC with 71 saves.
• The Wildcats are fourth in the GNAC with 19 goals and lead the conference with 109 saves.
• Central Washington will travel to No. 4 Seattle Pacific on Thursday. They have an opportunity to play spoiler in the final game of the season when they host Montana State Billings on Saturday.

• Montana State Billings brought their playoff hopes back from the dead with a pair of 2-1 victories over Western Oregon on Thursday and Saint Martin’s on Saturday. The Yellowjackets sit at 14 points, level with Western Oregon and two back of Simon Fraser, but will need to finish above both to get into their first GNAC Championships since 2014.
• With the season on the line, the Yellowjackets leaned on senior captain Haylee Gunter, who scored the game-winner in the win over WOU and both goals against Saint Martin’s. Gunter was named the GNAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week. The three goals were Gunter’s first points of the season.
Liberty Palmer scored five minutes into the match against the Wolves to stake MSUB to a 1-0 lead. The freshman forward is tied for sixth in the GNAC with five goals and fourth in the conference with 48 shots. Palmer also leads the Yellowjackets with 11 points.  
• Forwards Sydney Torres and Jordan Roe each assisted on a Gunter goal against the Saints. Torres and Roe are tied for second on the team with seven points. Roe and Maddie Smith each have a team-leading three assists. Freshman defender Sydney Wate earned her first collegiate point by assisting on Gunter’s game-winner against WOU.
Clare Keenan made six saves in goal against Western Oregon. On Saturday, the ‘Jackets turned to Tuva Sallvin, who made three saves against SMU. Keenan is tied for third in the GNAC with 67 saves. Sallvin has a 0.48 goals against average mark in limited action.
• Montana State Billings has two road matches remaining. That’s a potential obstacle for MSUB, who has the most extreme home/road splits in the GNAC. The Yellowjackets are 6-2-1 at home and 0-5-2 away from Billings.
• Montana State Billings faces Northwest Nazarene, who has clinched a top-three seed, on Thursday followed by Central Washington on Saturday.

• Northwest Nazarene extended their unbeaten run to eight matches and clinched a spot in the GNAC Championships for the first time since 2017, defeating No. 14 Western Washington 2-1 on Thursday and playing to a 0-0 draw with Simon Fraser on Saturday.
• GNAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week Madison Grande lifted the Nighthawks against Western Washington, equalizing in the seventh minute after the Vikings had taken an early lead before punching in the winner in the 81st minute off a low cross from winger Kailyn LaBrosse. Grande is fourth in the GNAC with seven goals and tied for the conference lead with 53 shots.
• The triumph over the Vikings was historic for the NNU program. It was only the Nighthawks’ second win in 40 match-ups with Western Washington, and the first since 2003. Northwest Nazarene had lost 18 straight to WWU prior to this contest.
• Goalkeeper Alexis Montoya won her third GNAC Defensive Player of the Week award this season, making 10 saves against one goal allowed. Montoya’s shutout against Simon Fraser was her eighth of the season and 19th of her career, an NNU program record. Montoya ranks eighth in Division II with an .891 save percentage, and leads the GNAC and ranks 30th in Division II with 90 total saves.
Sierra Sanchez and Ashley Parton are tied for second on the team with three goals apiece. Magda Wronski leads the Nighthawks and is tied for fourth in the GNAC with five assists.
• The Nighthawks remained at No. 8 in the United Soccer Coaches West Region Poll. They were No. 6 in the NCAA’s preliminary West Region Rankings used to determine postseason status that were released Oct. 24. The next NCAA regional rankings will be released Wednesday, Nov. 3.
• Northwest Nazarene can do no worse than the No. 3 seed at the GNAC Championships. They trail Western Washington by four points for the No. 2 seed, meaning they need two wins and two WWU losses to overtake the Vikings.
• The Nighthawks face Montana State Billings on Thursday and No. 4 Seattle Pacific on Saturday at home.

• Saint Martin’s saw their losing streak reach nine games, falling 5-0 to No. 4 Seattle Pacific on Thursday and 2-1 to Montana State Billings on Saturday. The loss to MSUB was the fifth one-goal defeat during the streak.
• Freshman defender Jordyn Jolley scored her first goal of the season in the 87th minute against MSUB off an assist from Taylor Goodpaster to bring the Saints within one.
• Goalkeeper Ali Campigotto stopped eight shots against SPU and seven against MSUB. She led the GNAC in weekly saves for the second straight week, and ranks tied for third in the conference with 67 saves on the season.
• With her assist, Goodpaster joins Rachel Kimura, Rebecca Garrison and Kiersten Madsen as SMU players with four points. Maddie Wolff has the team lead with six, scoring a team-high three goals.
• The Saints have been reasonably well-disciplined, committing the third-fewest fouls per match in the GNAC (8.38).
• Saint Martin’s closes the season with two home matches against Simon Fraser on Thursday and No. 14 Western Washington on Saturday.

• Seattle Pacific continued its winning ways, defeating Saint Martin’s 5-0 on Thursday and Western Oregon 3-1 on Saturday, exacting revenge on a Wolves team that handed SPU its only loss of the season in their previous meeting.
• Seattle Pacific used an avalanche of second-half goals to bury Saint Martin’s, as the Falcons led only 1-0 at the break thanks to a Makena Rietz goal. Lauren Forster and Riley Pearce scored less than 30 seconds apart in the 56th minute before Sophie Beadle scored twice to put it away.
• Late goals were also the theme of the match against Western Oregon. A 20th-minute strike by Chloe Gellhaus held up until WOU equalized in the 81st minute. The Falcons had an instant response, with Abbie Anderson and Claire Neder scoring before the full-time whistle to seal the 3-1 win. Seattle Pacific unloaded 37 shots against Western Oregon, tied for the most by a GNAC team in a single game this year.
• The Falcons are a fixture at the top of GNAC leaderboards and in several national categories. Forster and Rietz are tied with WWU’s Jenna Killman with a GNAC-leading eight goals. Sophia Chilczuk leads the conference and ranks fourth in Division II with 11 assists, including on Rietz’s goal against the Saints. Chilczuk also leads the GNAC in points (19) and is second in Division II with 0.79 assists per match. The GNAC single-season record is 0.81 assists per match, set in 2017 by Simon Fraser’s Jenna Baxter.
• Goalkeeper Riley Travis ranks second in Division II with a 0.24 goals against average and fourth in Division II with a .914 save percentage. Travis is threatening the GNAC single-season GAA record of 0.30, set by fellow SPU netminder Jennifer Hull in 2003. The Falcons lead Division II with a 0.26 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.
• The Falcons remain at No. 4 overall in the United Soccer Coaches Poll and are No. 1 in both the United Soccer Coaches and the NCAA West Region rankings.
• Seattle Pacific is on the doorstep of their first regular-season GNAC Championship since 2011, holding a four-point lead over WWU. A win in either of the Falcons’ two remaining matches would clinch the regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the GNAC Championships.
• The Falcons wrap up the regular season by hosting Central Washington on Thursday before visiting Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Simon Fraser lost 2-0 to Central Washington on Thursday before picking up a vital point in a 0-0 draw with Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.
• While SFU has struggled to score all season, managing the fewest goals in the GNAC (11), they currently occupy a playoff position thanks to their defense, which has allowed the fourth-fewest goals in the conference (18). Goalkeeper Kelsey Fisher came up huge against the Nighthawks, making a season-high 10 saves. Fisher ranks sixth in the GNAC with 41 saves and fifth with 4.1 saves per match.
Giuliana Zaurrini has the team lead in goals with three, and shares the team lead in assists with Annika Gross at two.
• Freshman forwards Reagan Mackenzie and Kate Cartier have two goals apiece for SFU. Cartier logged 14 minutes against CWU and 27 minutes against NNU after missing the previous six games.
• Simon Fraser has a two-point lead over Western Oregon and Montana State Billings for the fourth and final GNAC Championships spot. The program last qualified for the GNAC Championships in 2018.
• Simon Fraser travels to Saint Martin’s on Thursday before hosting a potentially massive match against Western Oregon on Saturday.

• Western Oregon lost twice, falling to Montana State Billings 2-1 on Thursday and No. 4 Seattle Pacific 3-1 on Saturday.
• The Wolves allowed MSUB back into the playoff race by losing to the Yellowjackets. Down 2-0 after 20 minutes, Kaytlyn Larsen scored her second goal of the season in the 42nd minute, but the Wolves couldn’t find an equalizer.
Alyssa Talkington briefly put a scare into the No. 4 Falcons with her equalizing goal in the 81st minute of Saturday’s contest. Seattle Pacific has conceded just four goals in 15 matches, and Western Oregon has two of them.
• The Wolves have been relying on a pair of freshman playmakers in Lilly Nowatzke (four goals, two assists) and Piper Matson (three goals, three assists). Talkington and Jada Foster also have three goals for WOU.
Chloe Smith and Erika Moreno are tied for seventh in the GNAC with four assists. Smith is tied for eighth in the GNAC with 39 shots.  
• Western Oregon has used three goalkeepers for substantial minutes this year, and this week was freshman Olivia Holdenreid’s turn to shine. Holdenreid entered a match for the fourth time this year at halftime against MSUB, making three saves without allowing a goal. Against SPU, she received her first start of the season and made 10 saves in 90 minutes against the Falcons, a season-high for a Wolves goalkeeper.
• Western Oregon is chasing Simon Fraser for the final playoff spot, as they sit two points back of the fourth spot in the GNAC standings. The Wolves will host No. 14 Western Washington Thursday and hope to still be in the hunt for a head-to-head match-up on the road with Simon Fraser on the season’s final day.

• Western Washington stumbled against Northwest Nazarene, losing 2-1 to the Nighthawks on Thursday, before beating Central Washington 6-0 on Saturday. The Vikings outscored the Wildcats 12-0 in two meetings this season.
• Facing perhaps the conference’s hottest goalkeeper in Alexis Montoya, Tera Ziemer got WWU off to the perfect start by scoring in the sixth minute of Thursday’s match. Ziemer is fifth in the GNAC in goals (five), tied for fifth in points (15) and tied for eighth in shots (39).
Jenna Killman has been on a tear in the second half of the season, scoring four times in her last three matches, including two against Central. Killman is tied with SPU’s Lauren Forster and Makena Rietz for the conference lead with eight goals. She is also tied for the league lead in shots with 53 and notched her first two assists of the season against Central, helping her to a tie for second in points with 18.
Dayana Diaz, Sophie Butterfield, Darby Doyle and Sophie Bearden Croft also found the net against the Wildcats. Doyle is tied for seventh in the GNAC with 13 points.
Makenzie Burks and Ashley Nguyen each had two assists against CWU. Burks ranks third in the GNAC with six assists.
• Western Washington ranks ninth in Division II with 20.47 shots per match.
• The Vikings rose four spots to No. 14 in the United Soccer Coaches National Poll. They rank second in both the United Soccer Coaches and NCAA West Regional Rankings.
• Western Washington’s most likely seed for the GNAC Championships is No. 2, but they could earn the No. 1 seed and regular season title if they win out and Seattle Pacific loses twice. They will clinch a top-two seed by winning either of their remaining matches.