Friday, November 20, 2015

HS Update - November 20: Area teams prepare for State Final Four

Gonzaga Prep squares off against Yakima's West Valley in 4A semifinal Friday evening (photo: INWsn) 
The opening round and quarterfinals last week cut the field of the state playoffs down to four teams for the Final Four events being held Friday and Saturday in Puyallup, Shoreline and Sumner.

Gonzaga Prep and West Valley of Yakima square off in one of the two 4A semifinals Friday evening, ensuring one area side will be playing for the title on Saturday. Southridge is still alive in the 3A tournament, Ellensburg is still in the hunt for the 2A championship and Connell is up for the 1A crown. The St George's boys are also still playing, looking for the 1B/2B title.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

NAIA Cascade Conference Round-Up: Frontier programs take three of four NAIA berths from CCC tourneys

Penalties, penalties, penalties. That was a trend late last week for the Cascade Collegiate Conference tournament for the men and women. Four matches went to the tiebreaker, including both men's semifinals and the women's championship game.

Aside from a pair of close games on the women's side, the opening round quarterfinals were rather one-sided affairs on the scorelines that played out to the seeding. In the close ones, the top-seeded Carroll women took a one-goal decision against long-time foe Great Falls and fifth-seeded Southern Oregon edged out fourth-seeded Rocky Mountain in the other penalty kick showdown.

Rocky Mountain captured the double on the men's side, escaping a semifinal upset in penalties against Evergreen State College and narrowly defeating longtime rival Great Falls in a one-goal decision in the championship game. The third-seeded Argos reached the final to lock up one of the two automatic berths by downing second-seeded Corban in an epic 11-round penalty shootout. The Warriors, however, would go on to receive word a few days later that they received an at-large berth in the national tournament and will play host to Biola, which features former CC Spokane standout Devin Leon.

The women's Final Four was not quite as tightly contested with Carroll winning by two against Southern Oregon and Eastern Oregon dominating College of Idaho for a four-goal victory. The championship game, on the other hand, was quite a stalemate with the two sides deciding matters from the spot. Carroll took the tiebreaker to capture the double, but the NAIA tournament has them on the road for the opening round while EOU is at home.

With the first season of the expanded CCC featuring the four schools from the Frontier Conference concluded, three of the four automatic berths went to the Frontier programs with the Eastern Oregon ladies, which are experiencing a breakthrough campaign, being the lone exception. All four, though, do hail from east of the Cascades.

NCAA Round-up: Bozeman's Collins leads Stanford to Second Round

A handful of area players are still alive in their respective national tournaments, but the opening weekend of the event saw the season come to an end for Washington State and the Whitworth men. Among those still in action are a pair of Bozeman, MT natives at Stanford, where Averie Collins helped lead the Cardinal onto the second round in the women's tournament and Sam Werner scored in the men's season to cap off a championship PAC-12 season before they kick off tournament play this week.

Friday, November 13, 2015

CC Spokane headed to NWAC Final Four after doubleheader sweep

Despite two completely contrasting games, there was plenty of drama Saturday as the CC Spokane women and men came away victorious to book trips to this weekend's NWAC Final Four in Tukwila, WA. The women equalized twice before grabbing the 3-2 win in overtime against Everett and the men took advantage of a Whatcom side that imploded with three red cards en route to a 5-1 result in which the visitors also initially led.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Division II & III Round-Up: Whitworth to face Redlands in NCAA DIII opener

In the end, the Whitworth Pirates were not facing a must-win situation as second-place Pacific Lutheran lost earlier in the evening to rival Puget Sound, but they capped the season against rival Whitman with a celebratory 3-1 victory in which Karl Muelheims set a school record.

The Northwest Conference championship booked the Bucs a spot in the Division III tournament in which they will travel to San Antonio for the first two rounds of the event. First, they will square off against University of Redlands, which features defender Ben Thompson (Spokane, WA), who knows Muelheims well from playing with him on the Spokane Shadow First Team in EPLWA.

Puget Sound won the NWC title on the women's side, yet again. Their 14th consecutive title has them playing Augustana in the first round of the tournament.

In the GNAC, Seattle Pacific will play host to the first two round games in the Division II men's tournament after winning the regular season title, facing the winner of the first round contest between CSUDH and Fresno Pacific.

Their counterparts on the women's side advanced as an at-large berth to the tournament and will face UC San Diego in the opening round with the winner advancing to face GNAC season and playoff champion Western Washington, which is hosting both matches.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Division I Round-up: Washington State to host Northwestern in NCAA opener

The Washington State University ladies, as an at-large selection, were the lone side from the region to earn a spot in the NCAA Division I tournament unveiled Monday afternoon. They will host Northwestern Saturday at 5:00 pm in Pullman.

Eastern Washington, Montana and regular season conference champion Idaho missed out on earning a spot in the dance in the Big Sky tournament over the weekend as Northern Colorado claimed the league championship.

The Bears, however, feature one of only a handful of area players - other than the Cougars - that will be playing in the tournament with Carolyn Cox (Spokane, WA) on the squad. Other players from the region include Kelcie Hedge (Post Falls, ID) with the University of Washington, Stanford's Averie Collins (Bozeman, MT) and the trio of Jackie Bollinger (Wenatchee, WA), Rachel Estopare (Bend, OR) and Hayley Estopare (Bend, OR) with the University of Arizona.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

HS Update - November 10: Gonzaga Prep survives three shootouts to win regionals

The state playoffs kick off Tuesday after a week of regional playoff contests to determine who would advance to the final bracket.