How the West was Won - Week 8
By Ryan Bascue
The first NCAA Regional Rankings came out last Wednesday. The regional rankings are used by the NCAA Division III selection committee to determine seedings and At-Large participants in the NCAA Championship tournament. The ASC ties the NWC for the most teams represented in the regional rankings at two apiece. From the ASC, coming in ranked number one and number two respectively are Hardin-Simmons (10-1-1 / 7-0-1) and Texas-Dallas (13-1-1 / 7-1-1). From the NWC, Willamette (11-2-3 / 7-2-3) sits in the fourth spot and Pacific Lutheran (9-3-4 / 8-2-2) claims the sixth spot. The other positions are represented by one school in each of the two remaining conferences. From the SCAC, Trinity (Texas) (12-1-1 / 11-0-0) is ranked third. And from the SCIAC, Redlands (9-4-2 / 8-2-2) occupies the fifth position.
If history is any indication, the top three teams: Hardin-Simmons, Texas-Dallas and Trinity (Texas), those rankings will probably not change a whole lot through conference tournaments. However, there might be a revolving door in the bottom three slots especially with how tight the conference standings are for the SCIAC and the NWC.
Player(s) of the Week; Week Seven
In the ASC, Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors were awarded to Kenne Kessler of Hardin-Simmons and Madison Link of Mary Hardin-Baylor (9-3-2 / 8-1-0). Kessler notched a hat trick in the Cowgirl’s 4-1 rout of Howard Payne while Link had the game-winner and two assists in the Crusader’s 5-0 victory over Concordia (Texas). Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors went to Texas-Dallas’s goalkeeper, Monica Dallacasa and Texas-Tyler’s goalkeeper Maya Dossing. Dallacasa became the first ASC soccer player to record more than 900 consecutive scoreless minutes, eventually closing her record at 931:46 in the 1-1 draw against Hardin-Simmons. She recorded her ninth shutout of the season against McMurry and then eight saves against Hardin-Simmons. Dossing recorded four saves in a shutout against LeTourneau.
In the NWC, Offensive Player of the Week went too Leah Magee from Pacific Lutheran. Magee helped the Lutes go 2-0 over the week with a pair of game winners. Jaime Lange from Puget Sound (10-4-2 / 9-1-2) was recognized as Defensive Player of the Week. Lange hasn’t allowed a goal in 525 minutes between the posts. And this week, she recorded seven saves over two games for the Loggers.
In the SCAC, Trinity (Texas) swept Player of the Week awards again. The Offensive Player of the Week was Chelsea Cole. Cole had three goals combined in wins against Texas Lutheran and University of Dallas. Defensive Player of the Week recognition went to Lindsey Peng. Peng lead a defense that only allowed four shots on goal and she also added a goal and two assists. The Tigers now have twelve shutouts on the season.
In the SCIAC, Redlands swept Player of the Week honors. Winning Offensive Player of the Week was Eva Vlassopoulos. Vlassopoulos had a pair of goals over the weekend including an insurance goal against Chapman (9-9-0 / 5-7-0) and the equalizer that forced overtime and led to the eventual win over Occidental (7-2-4, / 6-2-4). Defensive Player of the Week went to Natalie Hubacz. Hubacz had a combined fifteen saves to help propel the Bulldogs to 2-0.
Around the West Quick Hits
The biggest surprise of Week Eight was Sul Ross State’s road win over Texas Dallas. Aylin Villalobos scored first for the Lobos on breakaway in the 13th minute. Emily Mihalik scored right before the half in the 42nd minute to go up 2-0. The Comets would finally find the net in the 73rd on a Claire Walker loose ball in front of the net goal. Sul Ross only allowed three shots on goal in the second half. Lobos are currently in fourth place in the ASC standings.
Trinity (Texas) has already clinched a SCAC conference tournament spot and will most likely be the number one seed. But the remainder of the conference tournament berths will be determined by the last few games of the regular season.
Puget Sound defeated Willamette 2-1 over the weekend. Fionn Fortune of Willamette scored in the first minute (just 49 seconds into the game) to go up 1-0. But the Loggers would bounce back on a pair of goals by Gabbie Berg in the 12th minute and the game winner in the 61st. This is intriguing as Willamette was regionally ranked prior to this game, don’t be surprised if Puget Sound creeps into the regional rankings and Willamette drops out. The NWC conference tournament is going to have a lot of fireworks. Can’t wait to see who comes out of there.
The Hardin-Simmons and Mary Hardin-Baylor match that was teased last week is actually on Monday October 22. With the Texas-Dallas loss to Sul Ross State, Hardin-Simmons and Mary Hardin-Baylor occupy the top two spots in the table separated by a single point. This is a rematch of last year’s ASC Championship game.
One of the last games of the regular season in the SCIAC has Redlands facing Cal Lutheran (9-2-5 / 7-2-4). As of right now they are the top two team in the standings. Cal Lutheran was picked to win conference back in August. But who knows? Should be an exciting match they have a good shot at playing each other in the conference tournament the final week.
Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran will play each other on Halloween. And again, this could be a preview of the NWC conference championship (seriously how fun has this conference been?). Puget Sound won the first match up 1-0; expect a similar type score.
Conference tournament time is right around the corner. Buckle up this is going to be a thrilling last week and a half.
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