Friday, November 20, 2015

HS Update - November 20: Area teams prepare for State Final Four

Gonzaga Prep squares off against Yakima's West Valley in 4A semifinal Friday evening (photo: INWsn) 
The opening round and quarterfinals last week cut the field of the state playoffs down to four teams for the Final Four events being held Friday and Saturday in Puyallup, Shoreline and Sumner.

Gonzaga Prep and West Valley of Yakima square off in one of the two 4A semifinals Friday evening, ensuring one area side will be playing for the title on Saturday. Southridge is still alive in the 3A tournament, Ellensburg is still in the hunt for the 2A championship and Connell is up for the 1A crown. The St George's boys are also still playing, looking for the 1B/2B title.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

NAIA Cascade Conference Round-Up: Frontier programs take three of four NAIA berths from CCC tourneys

Penalties, penalties, penalties. That was a trend late last week for the Cascade Collegiate Conference tournament for the men and women. Four matches went to the tiebreaker, including both men's semifinals and the women's championship game.

Aside from a pair of close games on the women's side, the opening round quarterfinals were rather one-sided affairs on the scorelines that played out to the seeding. In the close ones, the top-seeded Carroll women took a one-goal decision against long-time foe Great Falls and fifth-seeded Southern Oregon edged out fourth-seeded Rocky Mountain in the other penalty kick showdown.

Rocky Mountain captured the double on the men's side, escaping a semifinal upset in penalties against Evergreen State College and narrowly defeating longtime rival Great Falls in a one-goal decision in the championship game. The third-seeded Argos reached the final to lock up one of the two automatic berths by downing second-seeded Corban in an epic 11-round penalty shootout. The Warriors, however, would go on to receive word a few days later that they received an at-large berth in the national tournament and will play host to Biola, which features former CC Spokane standout Devin Leon.

The women's Final Four was not quite as tightly contested with Carroll winning by two against Southern Oregon and Eastern Oregon dominating College of Idaho for a four-goal victory. The championship game, on the other hand, was quite a stalemate with the two sides deciding matters from the spot. Carroll took the tiebreaker to capture the double, but the NAIA tournament has them on the road for the opening round while EOU is at home.

With the first season of the expanded CCC featuring the four schools from the Frontier Conference concluded, three of the four automatic berths went to the Frontier programs with the Eastern Oregon ladies, which are experiencing a breakthrough campaign, being the lone exception. All four, though, do hail from east of the Cascades.

NCAA Round-up: Bozeman's Collins leads Stanford to Second Round

A handful of area players are still alive in their respective national tournaments, but the opening weekend of the event saw the season come to an end for Washington State and the Whitworth men. Among those still in action are a pair of Bozeman, MT natives at Stanford, where Averie Collins helped lead the Cardinal onto the second round in the women's tournament and Sam Werner scored in the men's season to cap off a championship PAC-12 season before they kick off tournament play this week.

Friday, November 13, 2015

CC Spokane headed to NWAC Final Four after doubleheader sweep

Despite two completely contrasting games, there was plenty of drama Saturday as the CC Spokane women and men came away victorious to book trips to this weekend's NWAC Final Four in Tukwila, WA. The women equalized twice before grabbing the 3-2 win in overtime against Everett and the men took advantage of a Whatcom side that imploded with three red cards en route to a 5-1 result in which the visitors also initially led.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Division II & III Round-Up: Whitworth to face Redlands in NCAA DIII opener

In the end, the Whitworth Pirates were not facing a must-win situation as second-place Pacific Lutheran lost earlier in the evening to rival Puget Sound, but they capped the season against rival Whitman with a celebratory 3-1 victory in which Karl Muelheims set a school record.

The Northwest Conference championship booked the Bucs a spot in the Division III tournament in which they will travel to San Antonio for the first two rounds of the event. First, they will square off against University of Redlands, which features defender Ben Thompson (Spokane, WA), who knows Muelheims well from playing with him on the Spokane Shadow First Team in EPLWA.

Puget Sound won the NWC title on the women's side, yet again. Their 14th consecutive title has them playing Augustana in the first round of the tournament.

In the GNAC, Seattle Pacific will play host to the first two round games in the Division II men's tournament after winning the regular season title, facing the winner of the first round contest between CSUDH and Fresno Pacific.

Their counterparts on the women's side advanced as an at-large berth to the tournament and will face UC San Diego in the opening round with the winner advancing to face GNAC season and playoff champion Western Washington, which is hosting both matches.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Division I Round-up: Washington State to host Northwestern in NCAA opener

The Washington State University ladies, as an at-large selection, were the lone side from the region to earn a spot in the NCAA Division I tournament unveiled Monday afternoon. They will host Northwestern Saturday at 5:00 pm in Pullman.

Eastern Washington, Montana and regular season conference champion Idaho missed out on earning a spot in the dance in the Big Sky tournament over the weekend as Northern Colorado claimed the league championship.

The Bears, however, feature one of only a handful of area players - other than the Cougars - that will be playing in the tournament with Carolyn Cox (Spokane, WA) on the squad. Other players from the region include Kelcie Hedge (Post Falls, ID) with the University of Washington, Stanford's Averie Collins (Bozeman, MT) and the trio of Jackie Bollinger (Wenatchee, WA), Rachel Estopare (Bend, OR) and Hayley Estopare (Bend, OR) with the University of Arizona.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

HS Update - November 10: Gonzaga Prep survives three shootouts to win regionals

The state playoffs kick off Tuesday after a week of regional playoff contests to determine who would advance to the final bracket.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Idaho title bid falls short as Big Sky Final goes to penalties again

2015 Big Sky Conference Tournament Champions - University of Northern Colorado
Perhaps the Big Sky Conference should get two automatic berths to the NCAA tournament. For the fourth time in five years the league's championship game was decided from the penalty spot as unbeaten University of Idaho came up short of capturing the Big Sky double, falling 3-0 in the tiebreaker to second-seeded Northern Colorado after a 1-1 draw.

There was one clear, decisive performance on the day, and it was from goalkeeper Madeline Burdick, who doubled her save total for the afternoon with three saves in the penalty kick shootout in the midst of a light rain to give the Bears the Big Sky championship Sunday afternoon at Guy Wicks Field in Moscow, ID.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Unbeaten Idaho advances to Big Sky Final with win over Montana

The regular season champion University of Idaho Vandals used a pair of early goals in the second semifinal Friday afternoon in Moscow to down the University of Montana 3-2 and advance to play second-seeded Northern Colorado, which prevailed in the earlier game against Sacramento State 3-1.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lower seeds prevail in Big Sky: Eastern Washington falls, Montana advances

Thick, wet snow created a sticky situation in at the tourney Thursday | INWsn photo galleries coming soon
The opening day of the Big Sky tournament in Moscow was an eventful day. First, third-seeded Eastern Washington was knocked out, 3-1, by six-seeded Sacramento State in the first half of the doubleheader that saw the rain increase throughout. Then the snow - and plenty of it - began to fall as the second game kicked off. Fifth-seeded Montana looked right at home in it and used a pair of goals from Ashlee Pedersen (Spokane, WA) to down fourth-seeded Weber State 2-0.

The Hornets will face Northern Colorado in the morning game Friday and the Grizzlies will face host Idaho in the second half of the semifinal doubleheader.

NAIA Cascade Conference Round-Up: Playoff fields are set

In the final week of play for the CCC, all eyes were focused primarily on the women's side of things where two postseason berths were still up for grabs.

Corban made a late charge with a pair of victories over playoff bound Northwest University and fellow hopeful Evergreen, which came up short. The wins were enough to give them the seventh spot despite a losing 4-6-1 record.

The eighth spot, meanwhile, went to a team even further in the hole. The University of Great Falls, having already finished their campaign a week prior, still got in with just two league wins on the campaign thanks to also having four draws on their ledger. The four extra points edged out three-win Oregon Tech and two other sides with a pair of victories.

On the men's side of the conference, seeding was still up for grabs for the teams still in action. Great Falls locked up their spot at third with a pair of blowout victories over the bottom two sides, registering 23 goals on the weekend. Carroll did similarly to finish fifth.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

NWAC East Playoff Update - NIC women, Walla Walla men advance to quarters

TheNorthwest Athletic Conference soccer playoffs kicked off in earnest Wednesday with the majority of the opening round of playoff games. Four teams from the East were in action while the champions at CC Spokane were awaiting results elsewhere to learn their opposition for Saturday in the quarterfinal round.

NWAC EAST UPDATE - MEN #############

The Warriors of Walla Walla CC moved on with a 2-0 victory against Southwest Oregon while Columbia Basin came up short, dropping a 2-1 decision to Chemeketa.

Jose Anguiano (Kennewick, WA) put the Warriors on the board in the 25th minute on a ball from Emilio Meraz-Rodriguez (Pasco, WA) and Alex Saldana (Milton-Freewater, OR) added some insurance a minute before the break. Walla Walla controlled the contest with the visitors only eliciting one save from goalkeeper Francisco Flores (Milton-Freewater, OR). Walla Walla now travels to take on powerhouse Peninsula Saturday.

Host Chemeketa took the lead against Columbia Basin in the 20th minute and doubled the advantage a minute into the second half. The Hawks attempted to come back, but a goal with six minutes remaining from Jason Rodriguez (Othello, WA) was all they could muster as their season came to a close.

Traveling to Spokane Saturday will be Whatcom, which advanced with a victory over visiting Bellevue led by a goal and assist from Uriel Herrera.

Playoff Results 

Wednesday, November 4

Southwest Oregon 0 :: 2 Walla Walla
Columbia Basin 1 :: 2 Chemeketa
Bellevue 1 :: 2 Whatcom
Edmonds 1 :: 3 Tacoma

Upcoming Games 

Saturday, November 7
Whatcom @ Spokane 2:15
Walla Walla @ Peninsula 2:00
Chemeketa @ Highline 7:00

NWAC EAST UPDATE - WOMEN #############

The North Idaho College ladies advanced with a 2-1 victory against visiting Chemeketa while Treasure Valley came up short in a narrow 1-0 decision on the road against Clark.

Former high school teammates combined to put NIC in front 19 minutes into the contest Wednesday evening when Haley White (La Grande, OR) fed Jasmine Smith (La Grande, OR) for the go-ahead goal. The visitors pulled even in the 38th minute, but ten minutes into the second half NIC reclaimed the lead for good when Emily Aspen scored on a ball from Megan Lowery (Hayden, ID). The Cardinals will now travel to face perennial power Peninsula on Saturday.

Fernanda Rogel made six saves for the Chukars, but the one that got by her in the 63rd minute was all Clark needed as Treasure Valley was unable to produce any goals at the other end.

Spokane will play host to Everett, which posted a dominant 4-0 victory over Tacoma Wednesday evening in which they scored twice in each half - Claire Nelson and Lauren Allison each tallying two goals and an assist - and forcing the Tacoma keeper to make 12 saves as well.

Playoff Results

Tuesday, November 3
Shoreline (5) 1 :: PK :: 1 (3) Bellevue

Wednesday, November 4
Chemeketa 1 :: 2 North Idaho
Treasure Valley 0 :: 1 Clark
Tacoma 0 :: 4 Everett

Upcoming Games 

Saturday, November 7
Everett @ Spokane 12:00
North Idaho @ Peninsula 12:00
Clark @ Highline 4:30

-- INWsn --

CC Spokane sides sweep the week; claim NWAC East titles

The CC Spokane men's and women's sides faced a tough final week at home with local foe North Idaho College visiting midweek and longtime rival Walla Walla visiting on Saturday. The division championships were in reach for both, but they needed to take care of business to earn the top spots going into the NWAC postseason.

The Bigfoot ladies used a dramatic 2-1 victory over the Cardinals Wednesday to lock up a division championship repeat and celebrated with a 5-0 playoff tuneup victory Saturday against the Warriors.

The Sasquatch men also topped NIC by a 2-1 scoreline, but the title race went down to a season finale showdown with second-place Walla Walla Saturday that finished 3-0 in favor of Spokane.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Division II & III Round-Up: MSU-Billings women snag GNAC tournament spot

It was an interesting finish to the final week of play in the GNAC women's race for the postseason as Central Washington picked up a narrow win Thursday over fellow playoff hopeful Concordia. The victory set up a big showdown for the Wildcats Saturday at MSU-Billings, where both teams were still in the hunt for the fourth and final berth, needing a win and a little help. The Yellowjackets prevailed in another one-goal affair and got some help from Western Oregon, who beat Simon Fraser in overtime, to earn a spot in the postseason tournament.

On the men's side where there is no tournament, Seattle Pacific and Simon Fraser both picked up wins win the the Falcons clinching at least a share of the league title and the Canadians keeping within three points by downing third-place Northwest Nazarene.

The race for the Northwest Conference men's title is even closer going into the final game of the season as Whitworth and Pacific Lutheran each posted a pair of wins over the weekend. The Pirates hold a one-point advantage with a road game against last-place Whitman remaining while the Lutes will be playing host to rival and third-place Puget Sound.

Division I Round-up: Washington State rebounds with Oregon road sweep

The Cougars of Washington State were in the midst of an extremely rare three-game conference losing streak, but snapped it over the weekend with a pair of 2-1 victories on the road against Oregon and Oregon State.

Meanwhile in the Big Sky, Eastern Washington came up just shy of getting the second bye in the conference tournament, but handed the Idaho Vandals their first blemish on their conference record with a 1-1 draw. The result allowed Northern Colorado to snag second. The Eagles and Montana will both play in first round games Thursday in Moscow.

Boise State, however, will not be moving onto the postseason as a draw in their final game allowed others to grab the final berths in the Mountain West Conference tournament.

Whitworth men sail past Willamette, put title repeat in reach

The senior Pirates did a lot of celebrating Sunday, starting from the pre-game ceremony where they were recognized for their time with the program - which boasts the best four-year win percentage in program history - and continuing into the match versus Willamette, a dominant 6-1 victory.