Falcons, Vikings Open 2022 In Women's Preseason Top 10
Lauren Forster finished with nine goals and three assists in 2021 en route to earning GNAC Freshman of the Year honors for Seattle Pacific.
Lauren Forster finished with nine goals and three assists in 2021 en route to earning GNAC Freshman of the Year honors for Seattle Pacific.

Monday, August 8, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – The conference’s two West Region finalists from 2021 are being targeted for big things once again with Seattle Pacific and Western Washington earning top 10 rankings in the United Soccer Coaches Division II Women’s Preseason Poll.

One year removed from winning the West Region title, Seattle Pacific is ranked No. 5 while Western Washington, the Falcons’ championship opponent, is ranked No. 10. The two are the top-ranked teams from the West Region.

The Falcons played an impressive brand of soccer from start to finish, ending the season with a 19-2-1 overall record. Seattle Pacific won the GNAC regular-season championship and claimed the overall title with a 3-0 victory over the Vikings in the GNAC Championships. Seattle Pacific led the GNAC with 64 goals, 58 assists and 186 points. Defensively, SPU allowed just 11 goals, amassing a 0.50 goals against average, and finished with 12 shutouts. The Falcons ranked in the NCAA top 10 in six different statistical categories, including second in total assists and eighth in goals.

Seattle Pacific returns 16 players from last year’s team but must account for the loss of eight full-time starters, including All-Americans Sophia Chilczuk and Makena Reitz and GNAC 2021 Defensive Player of the Year Madison Ibale. The returners are led by sophomore Lauren Forster, the GNAC Freshman of the Year who finished with nine goals and three assists last season, and senior forward AJ DePinto, who scored five goals and had three assists.

Western Washington put together a 15-5-3 record in 2021, finishing second in the GNAC with a 10-3-1 mark and faced Seattle Pacific in both the GNAC Championships final and the West Region final. The Vikings led the GNAC with 452 shots and finished second to Seattle Pacific in goals (41), assists (43) and points (125). Western Washington matched SPU with 12 shutouts, allowing 18 goals with a 0.76 goals against average. The Vikings finished 10th in Division II with 19.65 shots per game.

The Vikings also return 16 players from last year’s roster, bringing back seven regular starters. Senior midfielder Tera Ziemer was named the GNAC Newcomer of the Year and Second Team All-American honors after finishing with six goals and six assists. Senior defender Katie Watt earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC honors in 20 matches while senior forward Dayana Diaz scored two goals and had two assists in 23 matches.

Seattle Pacific opens its preseason schedule on Aug. 13, hosting Highline Community College. The Falcons’ regular season opens on Sept. 1 when they host San Francisco St. Western Washington’s preseason opens on Aug. 11 at Trinity Western with the regular season commencing on Aug. 25 at home against Puget Sound.