Monday, July 1, 2013

WPSL NW Recap – Week 5: THUSC Diamonds first to clinch playoff spot heading into final week; Spokane Shine expelled

Two wins for AC Seattle this week
The Tualatin Hills United SC Diamonds have run away from the pack among the Oregon teams and clinched one of the state’s two berths in the WPSL Northwest Division playoffs with a 2-0 victory Saturday in a closely-fought contest against regional rival Westside Timbers.

The other big news of the week broke Monday afternoon with the division and league announcing that the Spokane Shine have been expelled and their final home game against SRR Issaquah will be considered a forfeit victory for the Seattle-area club.

“We are following the by-laws and expelling the Spokane Shine from the WPSL effective immediately,” said Northwest Commissioner Niki Taylor of Emerald City FC upon receiving official notice from the WPSL. “It’s not fair for Issaquah to have to spend the time and money to travel to Spokane when the Shine refused to travel last weekend.”

For the most part, it was a good weekend for the traveling teams. In addition to THUSC’s win, Emerald City swept their road trip south of the border, blanking the Bend Timbers Saturday and held on after two early goals to post a 2-1 win against Eugene Metro Azul. Eugene and Bend also earned home wins, though via forfeitures by the Spokane Shine, who cancelled the trip south earlier in the week. AC Seattle were the only team to win at home, rallying Sunday to defeat local rival and previously unbeaten SRR Issaquah SC.

While THUSC has assured themselves of postseason play, the remaining three berths are completely up for grabs heading into the final week of play. The Seattle-area trio are virtually dead even with all three having a potential 25-point mark available for them. They also all have scored 23 goals this season, though AC Seattle has played one fewer game. In fact, a strange quirk has all four of the top clubs in the overall table with 25 points possible and 23 goals scored.

In Oregon, Eugene and Westside are vying for the second playoff berth from the state. Eugene is currently in front by three points, but both sides have a pair of games remaining, including a head-to-head showdown on Saturday that could prove decisive.

As for the Evergreen Cup, the picture is a lot less murky. AC Seattle has a one-point lead, but can clinch the title on Friday when they play second-place Emerald City. A win would put them on 13 points – Issaquah’s maximum possible – and clinch the crown for the Italians via their head-to-head results having posted a win and a draw in the two-game series in their debut campaign.

In the scoring races, it looks like it is going to take quite a Herculean effort in the final week to catch THUSC striker Jen Stoltenberg atop the points table with seven goals and eight assists. The potential for a sweep from the former Oregon Duck, who is the school’s all-time scoring leader, is certainly not guaranteed as she leads by only one in goals and two in assists.


Marbury last to score for Shine
AC Seattle 4 :: 2 Spokane Shine

Plagued by a short-handed roster for two weeks, the Spokane Shine finally had a full contingent of players on hand late Wednesday afternoon for their home contest against league newcomer AC Seattle. Despite putting forth their best effort of the season thus far in a near draw, the Shine came up short of earning their first points of the campaign with the visitors getting two goals from Romina Pinna, including a stoppage time dagger. Full Report on INWsoccernews [+]

Scoring Summary
SPO: Hailey McClure (Julia Moravec) 5
SEA: Romina Pinna (Caterina Kensbock) 15
SEA: Giulia Ambrosetti 30
SEA: Alessandro Nencioni 38
SPO: Kara Marbury 65
SEA: Romina Pinna 90+


Spokane Shine 0 :: Forfeit :: 3 Eugene Metro Azul
EC players take a post-game dip to cool off

Emerald City 4 :: 0 Bend Timbers

Spanish Iowa Western freshman Marina Galaz was unaffected by the hot temperatures in Bend Saturday. The youngster scored the lone goal of the first half and added two more in the second stanza to put the club well on it’s way to the win. Her hat-trick skyrocketed her up the scoring tables as well. Casey Berrier found Megan Chapin for her second of the season to cap the game with three minutes left.  Report from goalWA [+]  

Scoring Summary
EC: Marina Galaz (Kiana Kraft) 21
EC: Marina Galaz (Tia Carrillo) 65
EC: Marina Galaz (Caroline Karlsson) 75
EC: Megan Chapin (Casey Berrier) 87

THUSC Diamonds 2 :: 0 Westside Timbers
THUSC Diamond lineup

In a game that was a lot closer than the score indicated, the Oregon leaders were unable to break the deadlock until the 75th minute when a turnover at midfield by Ariel Kanable allowed Hannah Kimsey of Concordia to quickly find Nikia Evans, who lofted a long shot from about 28 yards out into the back of the net. It was Evans’ first goal of the year for the Diamonds, but the fifth assist for Kimsey. Westside’s chances of rallying for a draw were dashed on a disputed penalty call in the 85th minute, which Kiyomi Cook converted for her first of the year.

"We are very proud of our players and THUSC in taking our next step toward the playoff rounds,” said THUSC Director of Coaching Tom Atencio of clinching the spot in the postseason.

Scoring Summary
THU: Nikia Evans (Hannah Kimsey) 75
THU: Kiyomi Cook (pen) 85

Marina Galaz (right) | NW Sports Pics
SUNDAY, June 30

Spokane Shine 0 :: Forfeit :: 3 Bend Timbers

Emerald City 2 :: 1 Eugene Metro Azul

University of Montana striker Erin Craig netted her third of the season 11 minutes in and Galaz scored her fourth of the weekend and sixth of the season eight minutes later for what proved to be the game-winner. Playing in their second game in as many days, the club’s defense did well to keep the hosts at bay, limiting them solely to a tally five minutes before intermission.

Scoring Summary
EC: Erin Craig (Megan Chapin) 11
EC: Marina Galaz (Caroline Karlsson) 19
EMA: Caitlyn Castillo 40

SRR Issaquah 1 :: 3 AC Seattle

The visiting Reign Reserves took the initial lead 25 minutes in when a ball was headed out by an AC Seattle defender. It came to Bend, Wash. native Nicole Stanton and the Fairfield University midfielder took a quick touch and fired from about 24 yards out and finding the net inside the left post. Romina Pinna scored her sixth goal of the campaign just two minutes into the second half to pull AC Seattle even and Alia Guagni scored twice in seven minutes for the win. She chipped the first over the keeper from about 11 yards out on the left side in the 62nd minute and then drove deep into the box, slipping the ball past the onrushing Alexis Thode and inside the far left post from about eight yards. Report from goalWA [+]

Scoring Summary
ISS: Nicole Stanton 25
SEA: Romina Pinna 47
SEA: Alia Guagni 62
SEA: Alia Guagni 69

MONDAY, July 1 (Expulsion ruling)

SRR Issaquah 3 :: Forfeit :: 0 Spokane Shine


AC Seattle @ THUSC Diamonds 7:00

AC Seattle @ Westside Timbers 7:00

FRIDAY, July 5
AC Seattle @ Emerald City 6:00

Westside Timbers @ Eugene Metro 4:00

SUNDAY, July 7
THUSC Diamonds @ Eugene Metro Azul 4:00
SRR Issaquah @ Emerald City 6:00

^Includes Tuesday Shine forfeiture to Issaquah as Spokane has been expelled