Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tracker: Conference, national honors for INWsn area players & coaches

Mike Ramos, Coe Michaelson, Eddie Gutierrez & Brooke Moody have had great campaigns this year
Now that the college regular seasons around the northwest and beyond are wrapping up, the various conferences have been announcing their season honors and the NSCAA is in the process of release its annual lists of All-Americans.

It has been a pretty good season for the region with a number of teams experiencing some of their best campaigns in program history. Those efforts have resulted in a vast number of individual awards for players and coaches from schools such as Northwest Nazarene, Montana and Whitworth.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

INW Best XI - Week 13: Ames leading Concordia in title defense

A trio of INWsn area players were recognized for last week's playoffs action along with a number of other players around the region who played key roles even though their teams were eliminated from the postseason.

Ashley Ames (Spokane, WA) guided Concordia to an opening round win in defense of their national championship and Cody Lang (Spokane, WA) was pitching a shutout for Seattle Pacific before an overtime goal dashed their championship dreams.

INW NCAA College Recap – Week Thirteen: Concordia women last team standing in postseason

It has all come down to one. The Concordia Cavalier ladies, featuring several players from the Inland Northwest, posted a 3-0 victory in their opening round match of the NAIA tournament Saturday to advance to the week-long Sweet 16 tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama the first week of December. The Cavs, who have reached the final four times in the previous 10 years, will be aiming to repeat as national champions.

The playoff runs for several hopefuls teams in the area, unfortunately, came to an end this past week. Most notably was the Whitworth men, who lost in a hard-fought Sweet 16 contest of their own while the Rocky Mountain College men were knocked out in their opening round NAIA match. Here's a quick round-up of the area schools, players from the INWsn region and a couple other scores for teams around the northwest.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

INW Best XI - Week 12: Freshmen Espinoza and Heaps lead Whitworth, Concordia to playoff wins

Whitworth University advanced to the D-III NCAA Tournament's final 16 with a pair of victories garnered with the heroics of Eric Espinoza. The freshman midfielder, who came into the weekend with just a goal and two assists on his ledger, tallied a goal and a game-winning assist on the weekend as they shutout two opponents on the other side of the country.

After working her way into the starting lineup, freshman defender/midfielder Martha Heaps has had a fantastic postseason for Concordia University. After scoring her first collegiate goal last week in the semifinal win, she added to it with the game-winning strike in the CCC championship game this week to send the Cavaliers back to the NAIA tournament to defend their title.

INW NAIA & NWAC College Recap – Week Twelve: Spokane, NIC come up short in NWAC; Idaho trio lead Corban to title

The Cascade Collegiate Conference and the Northwest Athletic Conference both crowned champions over the weekend.

In the NWAC, the North Idaho College men advanced to the championship game with a dramatic overtime victory, but came up empty against a Highline side that had a fantastic championship weekend. On the women's side, CC Spokane came up short in their attempt to rally from a stunning two-goal deficit against Everett, who went on to deny Peninsula a third consecutive title in the championship game.

The CCC determined its two entrants into the NAIA national championship tournament with a pair of games at Northwest University, but championship Saturday was a heartbreaking day for the Eagles. The top-seeded women were edged at home by a pair of players from eastern Washington that guided reigning NAIA champion Concordia to a third consecutive conference title. Meanwhile, on the men's side the second-seeded Eagles were beaten in overtime by Corban University. Three players from Idaho factored in the scoring for the Warriors, including a pair of defenders.

Another Idaho native factored in another title elsewhere in the NAIA. Goalkeeper Tanner Horton helped lead McPherson College to the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championship after an 8-0-1 KCAC season.

Corban and Concordia learned their NAIA tournament opponents Monday along with the Rocky Mountain College and Westminster College of the Frontier Conference, who won the Unaffiliated Group tournament a week prior.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

INW NCAA College Recap – Week Twelve: Washington State upset; Whitworth reaches Sweet 16

 Friday was a stunning night of firsts for Julia Moravec's (Spokane, WA) Seattle University as they stunned 23rd-ranked Washington State at home in the opening round of the NCAA women's tournament. In the lower divisions, the big winner was the Whitworth men who won a tight contest Friday evening and then dominated in the second round the following night to reach the third round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

Meanwhile, Northwest Nazarene's best season in the men's program history came to an end at the hand of perennial power Seattle Pacific in the regional stages of the NCAA Division II tournament.

Similar to Moravec, several other area players helped guide teams to strong results in the opening weekend of tournament play, though they were not able to advance. Puget Sound of the NWC reached the second round and University of Redlands (California) upset a ranked team in their first round games of the Division III tournament.

The Division I men's season also came to a close over the weekend. Locally, Gonzaga finished on a positive note.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gonzaga men finish season with victory over Portland

The Gonzaga Bulldogs finished a disappointing season on a good note, avoiding a loss on the final day of the season to the Pilots, who were looking to avoid a winless conference campaign. The Zags rallied from a first half Portland goal, grabbing a 2-1 victory in overtime.

Midfielder Lars Ludwigs was buzzing Saturday. He was constantly threatening the Pilots goal with several chances throughout the game before finding the winner early in extra time, sending the seniors out with a victory. Clark Phillips gave them the opportunity for the win with an equalizer early in the second half.

Friday, November 14, 2014

CC Spokane women, North Idaho College men headed to NWAC Final Four

After dominant campaigns in the East Division of the Northwest Athletic Conference and victories over impressive teams in arguably the toughest set of quarterfinals, the CC Spokane women and the North Idaho College men are headed to Tukwila Friday to play in the league's Final Four at the Starfire Sports Complex Saturday and Sunday.

For the Sasquatch, it is nothing new as the team has been a perennial power in the East Division and is back for the third time in five years, reaching the championship game two years ago. The Cardinal are in the Final Four for the sixth consecutive time; though this appearance comes after a nine-year absence from the NWAC.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

INW Best XI - Week 11: Idaho State's Ellsworth, Rocky Mountain's Clancy post big playoff performances in Montana

Ultimately, Amanda Ellsworth and Idaho State came up just shy as the fifth seed of winning the Big Sky Conference tournament, but the star striker scored three huge goals in leading the Bengals to a pair of upset victories, including a semifinal win against the conference unbeaten and host University of Montana in Missoula. Further east in Billings, Rocky Mountain College was playing host to the NAIA Unaffiliated Group tournament which both sides reached the final of. Leading the men to the championship was midfielder Jack Clancy, who led them to an overtime win in the first round, a one-goal victory in the semifinals and tallied the lone goal in the championship game against rival Great Falls, who swept them during an unbeaten conference campaign.

INW NAIA & NWAC College Recap – Week Eleven: Rocky Mountain spoils Great Falls season; North Idaho men knock off Peninsula

It was a busy week of tournament action, for the most part.

In the NAIA's Cascade Collegiate Conference, the College of Idaho ladies saw their season come to an end at home in the opening round at the hands of Warner Pacific with the top seeds Northwest University and Concordia eventually moving onto the final.

In the NAIA Unaffiliated Group tournament featuring the Frontier Conference contingent, host Rocky Mountain College saw both sides reach the finals. The second-seeded ladies advanced past Carroll via penalties but came up short in overtime against top-seeded Westminster while the fourth-seeded Bears upset University of Jamestown in a thrilling comeback performance in the semifinal and spoiled the unbeaten conference season of Great Falls in the championship game.

In the Northwest Athletic Conference, the East's lower seeds had a tough time advancing. The Treasure Valley women were the lone survivors of the first round, courtesy of penalties. Overall, the division winners were the dominant teams on the week with all four moving on in the women's bracket and three of four in the men's, including the East's CC Spokane women, who blanked the league's top offense, and North Idaho College men, who ended the dominant run of reigning two-time champion Peninsula.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

INW DII-III College Recap – Week Eleven: Whitworth men win NWC; Boise duo lead Redlands to surprise title

Among the Division II action this week in the GNAC, the MSU-Billings and Central Washington women were both knocked out in the semifinals of the conference tournament while Northwest Nazarene blanked MSUB on the men's side to finish the season prior to their invitation Monday to the NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, in the Northwest Conference the Whitworth men held onto their recently re-acquired top spot in the conference by blanking Whitman to secure the league championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.

Outside of the region, a pair of Spokane players helped lead the back line of New Mexico Highlands on a run in the Division II RMAC tournament and Division III program University of Redlands surprised everyone, capturing the title as the fourth seed in their conference tournament thanks to the play of a pair of players from Boise.

Monday, November 10, 2014

INW DI College Recap – Week Eleven: WSU ties rival UW; both headed to NCAA Tournament

There was plenty of good news in the PAC-12, but it was a tough week for area teams in their conference tournaments. Boise State lost a showdown of two teams on a run in the first round of the Mountain West Conference tournament and in the Big Sky Conference, Northern Arizona played spoiler.

First, the Lumberjacks avoided Eastern Washington's hopes of an upset in the opening round while in the other contest Idaho State moved on against Northern Colorado in a minor upset. The Bengals then stunned unbeaten conference champion and host Montana to move onto the championship game where their hopes of a second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament were spoiled.

It was rivalry week in the PAC-12, but none of them really proved to be all that impactful as a conference-record nine teams were selected for the NCAA tournament Monday. Both Washington schools, after playing to a draw Saturday, were invited along seven others.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Gonzaga blanked 3-0 by Portland in season finale Saturday

Having already reached a program-best four wins in the West Coast Conference, the Gonzaga women were hoping to make it five and finish alone in fourth - and potentially tie for third - with a positive result against visiting University of Portland, but the Pilots were up against a wall trying to avoid the worst conference finish in program history. In the end, visitors topped the Zags on Senior Day, 3-0, in a game that was far more evenly played than the score indicated.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

INWsn College Postseason Scoreboard

There is a lot of postseason action featuring area schools. Follow everything right here on INWsoccernews. Matches / Results for schools in the INWsn coverage area and their conferences are listed below. Links to video streams available at the bottom. And follow @INWsoccernews on Twitter for in-game updates (as available)

INW Best XI - Week 10: Shuman leads MSUB to second; Ontiveros guides NNU in upset

It was a week of outstanding performances in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Chelsea Shuman (Kalispell, MT) helped lead the MSU-Billings Yellowjackets to a second-place finish in the GNAC last week with an outstanding two-game performance as they narrowly edged out Seattle Pacific in the table via tiebreakers. She was directly involved in four, scoring three of them, as they blanked Simon Fraser and rallied at Northwest Nazarene for an overtime victory.

Northwest Nazarene, sitting fifth in the West Region poll and needing to stay in the top six for a national tournament berth, pretty much solidified their spot in the postseason by handing second-ranked Seattle Pacific their first loss of the year Thursday thanks to Alfredo Ontiveros' shutout performance. He nearly had another clean sheet Saturday only to see Saint Martin's spoil it in the very last second.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rough Start: INWsn area programs winless in opening days of postseason

It has been a tough couple days in postseason play thus far for teams in the area. Through the opening of the Cascade Collegiate Conference, NWAC and Mountain West, none of the teams in action have been able to pick up a win. The only team to advance is the Treasure Valley CC women, who needed a penalty kick tiebreaker to move onto the NWAC Second Round.

INW NAIA & NWAC College Recap – Week Ten: Great Falls finishes Frontier sweep; NWAC playoffs set

With the women idle in the Cascade Collegiate Conference and little to be determined on the men's side, the more interesting NAIA scenarios for the week laid to the east where the University of Great Falls finished a sweep of the Frontier Conference on the eve of the Unaffiliated Group tournament and the Rocky Mountain College women came up short in a head-to-head showdown with Westminster College for the regular season title.

In the NWAC, all that was left to settle in the final week of league play was the seeding for the men's second berth and rights to host in the opening round, but a stalemate between Walla Walla and Wenatchee Valley was all the Warriors needed.

INW DII-III College Recap – Week Ten: GNAC women's playoffs set, Whitworth men move back atop NWC

Among the Division II action this week in the GNAC, the ladies wrapped things up with Central Washington and MSU-Billings moving onto the postseason. The Wildcats blanked Saint Martin's but narrowly fell to Seattle Pacific while MSU-Billings swept the weekend to keep their position in second, downing Simon Fraser easily and rallying to top Northwest Nazarene in overtime. On the men's side MSUB split on the weekend and second-place NNU grabbed a pair of wins to solidify their resume, topping second-ranked Seattle Pacific.

In the Northwest Conference, the Whitworth men went into Saturday's game against league-leading Willamette thinking it was the must-win game in order to grab control of the race for the championship. After a scoreless stalemate, however, it was Sunday's action that vaulted them to the top of the table as Willamette and fellow contender Puget Sound both were upset while the Pirates rolled to a big win at Linfield.

Here is a rundown of the area schools and their conferences as well as how players from the Inland Northwest performed around the nation in the past week.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

INW DI College Recap – Week Ten: Boise State wins finale, kicks off postseason Tuesday

Look out Mountain West. The Broncos of Boise State are on a roll. After giving up five combined goals in two losses to open the conference campaign, the team's outstanding defense regained its form and has allowed just three goals since then in seven games, capping the run on Halloween with its fourth consecutive win via a shutout performance. The Broncos' will be a scary sixth seed to face in the Mountain West Conference tournament, which begins with the first round Tuesday afternoon in San Diego, where it will continue with semifinals Thursday and championship Saturday.

Meanwhile, it was a tough week for Washington State and Gonzaga. The Cougars were swept by the visiting schools from Los Angeles. The Gonzaga men went without a goal at home, falling to San Diego and getting a draw against Loyola Marymount. The lady Zags rebounded from another loss to the Sofia Huerta (Boise, ID) led Santa Clara Broncos with the lone bright spot for the trio with a win at San Francisco.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

BIG SKY: Montana edges Eastern Washington to finish unbeaten; Idaho State advances to playoffs

The Big Sky Tournament is set, and kicks off Thursday in Missoula - Details below
The Grizzlies were looking to finish an unbeaten season in the Big Sky and Eastern Washington was playing for postseason positioning in a contest that could have gone either way a week ahead of the Big Sky Conference tournament. In the end, a second half goal for Montana proved to be the difference as the Grizzlies prevailed 1-0 in Cheney.