Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Overview: College campaigns kick off in the Inland Northwest

A look at all the men's and women's collegiate teams & players in and from the INW (photos: Gerald Barnhart)
The region’s college soccer season gets under way in earnest this weekend with 15 games. For most, the season will be a quest to prove the critics and coaches polls wrong as many of the Inland Northwest area schools have been picked to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences.

Several schools, however, head into the 2012 season ranked in national polls. Leading the way is the North Idaho College women’s squad, who are seventh in the NSCAA preseason poll for NJCAA Division I. Carroll College (Helena, MT) is ranked 25th in the NAIA women’s poll with Rocky Mountain College getting votes and finishing outside the top 25, as did the Whitworth women in the NSCAA Division III poll. Meanwhile the University of Great Falls are ranked 21st in the men’s poll.

Seattle Pacific’s men’s and women’s squads, comprised of players from the Inland Northwest, were also both ranked. The men, featuring five players from Boise among seven INW players, are 11th in the NSCAA’s Division II preseason poll and the women, with a trio of INW players, are ranked 19th.

Spokane’s Averi Hallman will lead the defense this season for Memphis, which begins the campaign ranked 14th in the NSCAA poll and 11th in the Soccer America magazine rankings.

Click HERE or the 'College Schedules' menu link above for a look at the master schedule for the schools located throughout the Inland Northwest.  

Here’s a brief look at the INW region’s schools and their conferences…


The preseason Big Sky coaches poll picked Montana to finish third after finishing fourth a year ago (3-3-1 conference, 6-12-4 overall) prior to making a run to the Big Sky title in the postseason tournament. By winning the conference title, first-year coach Mark Plakorus led the team to its first trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2000 season, falling 3-0 to eventual national champion Stanford in the first round. The school features 11 players from the INW, eight from in-state. Coming in from out of state are Lauren McCreath and Carley Duval of Boise as well as Spokane’s Shannon Lindsay, who helped lead the Spokane Shine to the WPSL Northwest Division title over the summer.

Idaho State and Eastern Washington were picked to finish seventh and eighth, respectively, ranking only better than the conference's two newcomers North Dakota and Southern Utah. Idaho State (2-5-0, 5-11-1), surprisingly, only features only two players from the INW, both from Idaho. Eastern Washington (1-5-1, 2-12-1) features a number of players from its namesake region with three from Spokane and another trio from the Tri-Cities. Coming in from out of state representing the INW is Nicole Medeiros of Hayden, ID. The team also features midfielder Brittney Conway, a standout for the Spokane Shine over the summer.

Portland State was picked to win the conference on total points, though Northern Colorado had twice as many first-place votes (4) as Portland State and Montana, who each had two. Top four advance to conference playoffs.

Related: Montana wins Gonzaga 7-v-7 tournament in penalties
Gonzaga edges EWU in spring friendly
GoalWA Preview: Eastern Washington U


Washington State, which advanced to the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, and Utah finished tied for eighth place in the league's poll. Stanford was picked to win the conference title with 10 first-place votes. The Cougars (6-3-2, 12-7-4) only feature two INW players with Wenatchee’s Korynn Blanksma and Delaney Zalud of Colbert.


The University of Idaho (3-3-1, 8-10-3) was picked to finish fifth in the nine-team WAC poll, two spots back of Seattle University, which is a new member of the conference along with Denver. The better news for the Vandals was that Chelsea Small was picked as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, joining teammates Jill Flockhart and Liz Boyden (Spokane, WA) on the Preseason All-WAC team. All of Idaho’s INW players come from out of state, featuring six players from Spokane and one each from Cheney and Bend. Among them are Chelsie Breen and Erica Hart of the Spokane Shine. Seattle University features features three INW players with Shawna Anderson representing Pasco, Carlee Norquist from Boise and Julia Moravic of Spokane. Denver was picked to finish first with six first-place votes. Top six teams advance to the conference playoffs.

Related: Spring soccer well under way for Vandals
Gonzaga blanks Seattle University 2-0 (spring)
2012 WAC soccer season kicks off Friday 
GoalWA Preview: Seattle U


The Bulldogs (2-8-1, 4-12-2) were also voted to finish at the bottom in the men's seven-team conference after finishing last a year ago. The good news was that players James Matern and Clark Phillips were named to the preseason all-conference team. With four first-place votes, San Diego was selected as the conference's top school.

Related: GoalWA Preview: Gonzaga Men


Gonzaga was picked to finish last in the nine-team conference after finishing in the cellar last season with a winless record (0-6-2, 7-10-2). The team features nine INW players on the squad, including a half-dozen from the greater Spokane area. INW players coming in from elsewhere are Heather Johnson (Kennewick), Katey Pennington (Boise) and Alicia Berggren (Eagle, ID).

Related: Montana wins Gonzaga 7-v-7 tournament in penalties
Gonzaga edges EWU in spring friendly
Gonzaga blanks Seattle University (spring) 
GoalWA Preview: Gonzaga Women


Boise State was ranked sixth of eight schools in the league's preseason poll after finishing fifth last season (2-4-0, 8-11-1). The team features five INW players, all from inside the state. New Mexico was picked to finish first with five first-place votes. Top six advance to conference playoffs.


Whitworth University (12-2-0, 14-3-1) leads a conference full of INW players with 13 players on the squad from the region. Only five players hail from Spokane with two players coming in from Idaho, four from Montana and another from Yakima. Their conference foes in the west include eight more players from the INW. George Fox University features Arlo Powell of Rexburg, ID with Linfield College including Cody Tipton of North Bend. Pacific University features the duo of Ian Farley (Spokane) and Grady Bryson (Montana City) while Whitman has four from the INW in Niko Contos (Boise), Bill Landefeld (Kennewick), Andrew Clark (Pasco) and Joe Virden (Richland). The University of Puget Sound roster includes Boise's Ereko Bereziartua along with the Montana duo of Alec McCallum (Bigfork) and Stewart Miller (Helena). In the preseason coaches poll, Pacific Lutheran was picked to win the league (five first-place votes) with Whitworth finishing second (two for first). Puget Sound was third with Whitman fourth. The four Oregon sides were in the bottom half with Willamette, Pacific, Linfield and George Fox rounding out the list, respectively. 


The women’s side of the conference features even more INW players. Whitworth (8-4-4, 8-6-4) leads the way with a dozen players from the region, seven from Spokane. A pair of players hail from Pullman with others coming in from Missoula, Pasco and Selah, WA. The western counterparts to Whitworth feature a dozen more from the INW. Richland’s Lyndsee Landon plays at George Fox University and Eagle, ID native Nicoya Benham-Marin is at Pacific Lutheran. Linfield has five players from the region with Madisen Stewart and Lindzee Baker of Spokane, Julia Vaughn from Haines, OR and the duo of Taylor Conninsworth and Jessie Hargett of Bend and North Bend. The Idaho trio of Jordan Bodily (Eagle), Teri Shigeno (Meridian) and Kaeli Laxson (Nampa) play for Pacific University while Whitman also features a pair from Idaho in Julianne Masser (Boise) and Marisa Poorboy (Hayden). The University of Puget Sound features a pair of Spokane players in Lauren Hamilton and Abby Goss along with Lauren Swanson of Eagle, ID. UPS was picked to finish first in a preseason coaches poll with Linfield second and the pair of Whitworth and Willamette tied for third. Pacific was picked fifth, followed by Whitman in sixth and Pacific Lutheran in seventh. George Fox and Lewis & Clark rounded out the poll in eighth and ninth, respectively.


College of Idaho (6-6-2, 7-9-2) was picked to finish sixth in the eight-team conference with all eight schools selecting Concordia to finish first. Most of the squad is comprised of players from inside the state. Top four teams advance to the playoffs.


College of Idaho (5-3-1, 7-9-1) was selected to finish middle of the table in the conference, ranking fifth in the preseason poll. Players from inside the state make up most of the team’s roster. Eastern Oregon (2-6-1, 4-10-1) was selected to finish ninth in the conference. The school features seven players from the INW with four coming in from out of state. Spokane’s Carolyn Danek is joined by the Idaho trio of Haley Hill (Boise), Quincy Moore (Moscow) and Kiah Jones (Kuna). All 10 first-place votes went to Concordia. The top four teams advance to the playoffs.


Only three teams make up the conference. The University of Great Falls (16-5-0 overall) features seven INW players on the roster, including four from Idaho. Alex Mouchett of Post Falls is joined by the trio of Miguel Mendez, Alex Mendez and Andre Zarate of Bonners Ferry. Six INW players are on the roster of Rocky Mountain College (2-5-0, 8-8-0). Utah’s Westminster College also has a handful of INW players, featuring five from Boise and one from Missoula.


Though the conference only features four teams, it has seen its teams in the national picture in the polls. Carroll College (5-2-1, 12-4-2) enters the season with 14 INW players on the roster, eight from outside Montana. Kelli Lessmeier, Caitlin Walter and Carissa Yedica hail from Spokane while Kristyn Bohlander comes in from Kennewick. In from Idaho are Katey Friedt (Eagle), Christa Saur (Boise), Kailey Edgar (Star) and Kristen Kirking (Lewiston). The University of Great Falls (0-6-0, 6-13-1) has 10 INW players on the squad with Cass Gross (Payette, ID) and Olivia Mouchett (Post Falls, ID) coming in from out of state. Rounding out the contingent of schools from Montana is Rocky Mountain College (2-5-0, 8-8-0), which features seven players from its home state. Salt Lake City-based Westminster College also has a handful of INW players, featuring three from Boise and a fourth from Meridian to represent Idaho along with one each from Bend and Whitefish, MT.


Though fewer than the women’s side, the Northwest Nazarene (1-9-0, 6-10-1) squad has plenty of players from Idaho with seven in-state players along with Sal Sanchez of Ontario, OR representing the INW. MSU-Billings (3-5-2, 8-8-2) is comprised of 11 INW players, including the Boise duo of Chris Hawkins and Clifton Thomas. Seattle Pacific (14-4-2, 7-2-1), meanwhile, has nearly as many from the INW with five players coming in from Boise alone along with one from Bend and another from Spokane.

Seattle Pacific was picked to finish second in the conference with one first-place vote behind Canada’s Simon Fraser. MSU-Billings was third and Western Washington fourth. Northwest Nazarene was picked to finish sixth, ahead of new affiliate members Sioux Falls and University of Mary.

Related: GoalWA Preview: Western Washington M/W
GoalWA Preview: Seattle Pacific Men


Northwest Nazarene (4-14-0, 2-12-0) is loaded with INW players with 15 players from all over its home state of Idaho. Central Washington University (9-5-4, 8-4-2) features Lizzie Blanchard of Yakima as its lone INW player with most coming from the west side of the state. Montana State University-Billings (8-2-4, 11-3-4) features 10 players from the INW four coming from outside of the state with Megan Wade (E Wenatchee), Jackie Hill (Boise), Adrienne Biglow (Yakima) and Jennifer Johnson (Wenatchee).

Seattle Pacific (13-1-0, 17-3-0), meanwhile, has three players from the INW with Courtney Shearer (Bend), Megan Lindsay (Spokane) and Kaylie Winston (Pasco). Western Washington carries a trio of players from the INW in Jamie Arthurs (Richland) and the Boise duo of Ruth Peredo and Katie Stauffer.

The preseason conference coaches poll gave Seattle Pacific a unanimous vote as the top team, picking Western Washington second and MSU-Billings third. Central Washington was fourth with Northwest Nazarene last in the eight-team conference. The top four advance to the playoffs.

Related: Solo and Sounders Women soar in win over SPU Falcons
GoalWA Preview: Seattle Pacific Women


North Idaho College (9-8-2 overall) is almost entirely comprised of INW players with 10 hailing from the home state along with six from Montana and a pair from Washington on the men’s team. The roster for the NIC women (10-4-2 overall) does not provide hometown information.

ELSEWHERE: In addition to Spokane’s Averi Hallman playing at Memphis, several other Shine players are located throughout the nation. Alyssa Saucedo is joined by her Shine teammate Allison Jordan this year at New Mexico Highlands University, which also features McKenzie Kiser of Columbia Falls, MT. The Shine’s Morgan Roesler is at South Carolina State University with teammate Darci Smith, though Smith is out with a knee injury suffered late in the WPSL campaign this summer.

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