|Schools from around the region once again will gather at Gonzaga University for spring events|
The Gonzaga women will look to reclaim their crown after losing it to eventual co-Big Sky Conference champion University of Montana a year ago after winning the first two editions of the event. The Lady Zags lead a contingent in Group A that includes Montana's Maroon team, Central Washington University, and Eastern Washington University alumni. Montana's White squad headlines Group B with Eastern Washington University, CC Spokane and GU alumni.
Group play kicks off Saturday at 9:00 am and continues until a break at 2:00. The semifinals featuring the two two sides from each group are simultaneously at 3:00 with the 5th and 7th place contests providing a break at 3:45 before the championship match at 4:30.
The Gonzaga women are coming off a 1-6-1 (8-11-1 overall) season in which they finished eighth in the nine-team West Coast Conference. CWU finished seventh of eight in the GNAC with a 5-8-1 (6-10-2) record and Montana was 6-2-1 (12-6-3), in their three-way tie for the regular season title before falling in the conference final to fellow co-champion Idaho State via penalties.
Eastern Washington, meanwhile, finished in the middle of the Big Sky with a 3-3-3 record (5-9-5) last fall and recently fell 1-0 to Gonzaga in a spring friendly two weeks ago. The CC Spokane women ended a nine-year reign in their NWAACC division by Walla Walla CC en route to finishing as runners-up in the conference postseason after a heartbreaking penalty kick tiebreaker.
The five-a-side tournament hosted by the Gonzaga men Sunday starting at noon will feature nearby two-year programs CC Spokane and North Idaho College. The three schools will each field two teams in separate groups. The top two seeds advance to the semifinals at 2:15. The winners square off in the championship at 3:00 while the third-place group finishers square off at the same time.
Last season Gonzaga finished 0-11-1 in conference and 4-14-1 overall, a disappointing campaign considering everyone else in the West Coast Conference finished with at least four wins. It marked the fourth consecutive last-place finish since their runners-up campaign (6-5-1) in 2008.
The CC Spokane Bigfoot finished third in their division last year with a 6-5-2 record, but fell in the opening round of the NWAACC postseason.
NIC finished 6-6-3 overall last fall, qualifying for the NJCAA district playoffs where they fell in the semifinals.
WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE - SATURDAY
9:00 - A: GU v EWU Alumni ## B: UM White v EWU
9:50 - A: CWU v UM Maroon ## B: GU Alumni v CCS
10:40 - A: GU v CWU ## B: UM White v CCS
11:30 - A: UM Maroon v EWU Alumni ## B: GU Alumni v EWU
12:20 - A: UM Maroon v GU ## B: CCS v EWU
1:10 - A: CWU v EWU Alumni ## GU Alumni v UM White
Semifinals - 3:00
A1 v B2 ## A2 v B1
Consolation - 3:45
5th: A3 v B3 ## 7th: A4 v B4
Final - 4:30
MEN'S TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE - SUNDAY
Group Play (both groups simultaneous)
Gonzaga v NIC - Noon
Gonzaga v SFCC - 12:45
NIC v SFCC - 1:30
Semifinals - 2:15
#1 Group A v #2 Group B
#2 Group A v #1 Group B
Final - 3:00