Often overlooked because it is the Division II level, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference represented the region quite well in 2012 with men's champion Simon Fraser reaching the national semifinals and women's champion Western Washington taking the national championship game to overtime before coming up short.
GNAC - MEN
After finishing second in the conference a year ago, Northwest Nazarene was selected to finish third in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason poll this year. They were slightly edged out by Seattle Pacific, who were third in 2012. The nearly unanimous choice for first, meanwhile, was Simon Fraser, which finished the year 19-2-1 overall, reaching the national semifinals and completing the campaign ranked third in the NSCAA poll.
There are a few changes in the conference with MSU-Billings naming Alex Blalog head coach in May after serving as interim coach since February and assistant coach since 2011. Greg Brisbon was named head coach in February at Western Washington, where he was the long-time assistant for both programs, taking over for Travis Connell, who will remain as the women's head coach.
The biggest change is the addition of the South Dakota School of Mines mens soccer program to the membership in January. The Hardrockers finished the year 2-11-0 as an independent without any seniors in 2012 playing at the Division II level for the first time.
University of Mary (2) - Danny Robinson (Billings, MT), Dace Moerkerke (Hamilton, MT)… MSU-Billings (6) - Matt Brink (Billings, MT), Haley Klarich (Helena, MT), Grady Bryson (Helena, MT), Chad Ward (Bozeman, MT), Kyle Emerick (Billings, MT), Bryan Marinaccio (Great Falls, MT)… Northwest Nazarene (7) - Luke Broz (Boise, ID), Emmett Demirelli (Boise, ID), John DiLulu (Boise, ID), Kevin Field (Nampa, ID), Austin Thomas (Lewiston, ID), Layne Leisten (Eagle, ID), Ruben Cortez (Fruitland, ID)… Saint Martin's (6) - Luke Chouinard (Boise, ID), Derrick Gonzalez (Moses Lake, WA), Andrew Smith (Eagle, ID), Javier Gomez (Wenatchee, WA), Perry McNamar (Richland, WA), Cristian Sanchez (Wenatchee, WA)… Seattle Pacific (4) - Bryson Pavel (Boise, ID), Graham Reid (Boise, ID), Garrett Jones (Boise, ID), Cody Lang (Spokane, WA)
GNAC - WOMEN
The women's side also saw a bit of change with Northwest Nazarene naming Mary Trigg as the new head coach in February. She was a former assistant at Sacramento State and San Francisco State.
In the conference preseason poll last year's conference champion and Division II finalist Western Washington was not surprisingly picked to finish first, but held a 5-3 voting edge over Seattle Pacific, which was a close second as the two were well beyond the rest of the pack. MSU-Billings was picked to finish third again and Central Washington came in at number five with only two points separating fourth and sixth in the poll. Northwest Nazarene, which tied for sixth last year in the conference, was selected to finish seventh.
Central Washington (2) - Karlee Goehner (East Wenatchee, WA), Taylor Lang (Spokane, WA)… MSU-Billings (9) - Megan Wade (Wenatchee, WA), Kaylee Kimmet (Billings, MT), Jackie Hill (Boise, ID), Chelsea Shuman (Kalispell, MT), Sami Henson (Boise, ID), Malia Ozegovich (Bigfork, MT), Meghan Sorensen (Kennewick, WA), Paige Sorensen (Kennewick, WA), Jennifer Johnson (Wenatchee, WA)… Northwest Nazarene (15) - Monique Ray (Middleton, ID), Alex Kinnaman (Nampa, ID), Sarah Smith (Nampa, ID), Shelby Schafer (Spokane Valley, WA), Hailey Patterson (Idaho Falls, ID), Andi McCreath (Nampa, ID), Lacey Strickler (Nampa, ID), Catlin Jensen (Meridian, ID), Kellynn McDaniel (Boise, ID), Jenny Ball (Veon, ID), Whitney Wood (Coeur d'Alene, ID), Sarah Blum (Troy, ID), Katie Butler (Nampa, ID), Argia Phillips (Meridian, ID)… Seattle Pacific (3) - Courtney Shearer (Bend, OR), Maddy Booster (Bend, OR), Kaylie Winston (Pasco, WA)… Western Oregon (4) - Rachel Crawford (Coeur d'Alene, ID), Alexis Sutherlin (Boise, ID), Peyton Moon (Nampa, ID), Dariyan Johnston (Spokane, WA)