September 24, 2018

How the West was Won - Week 4

By Ryan Bascue

Kenne Kessler sets the mark for career goals at Hardin-Simmons (5-1-0 / 3-0-0). Kessler now has 77 career goals and its only week four in the season. Last year Kessler led the nation with 37 goals on the year as the Cowgirls made a deep NCAA run making it to the Final Four before losing to eventual Champion, Williams. In her 2018, campaign she already has seven goals on the season. The Cowgirls are undefeated in conference play with their only loss this season coming from William Smith (5-2-0 / 1-0-0). “It hasn’t really hit me yet that I have reached the all-time record books yet.” Kessler said. “For me I am so focused on the task at hand that it just hasn’t sunk in. Honestly, me scoring 77 goals just goes to show how good my teammates have been for the past four years to set me up with great opportunities. No goal is scored alone and I have been surrounded by outstanding players my whole career.” The Cowgirls lost a lot of valuable seniors from last season including All-Americans Kristen Parish and Kami Jones. “Our focus this season has been simple, to grow. We lost a lot of talent in our (last year’s) senior class, but we also have a lot of talent still within the team. Each week we just have been preparing for the next task and taking one step at a time and each week we as a team have grown substantially. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to play the goals are just an extra bonus.” Kessler humbly said. The Cowgirls will play Texas-Tyler (5-1-1 / 2-1-1) later this week.

Player(s) of the Week; Week Three

In the ASC, Mary Hardin-Baylor’s (4-2-2 / 3-0-1) Madison Link was named Offensive Player of the Week. Link had two goals and an assist against East Texas Baptist (3-4-1 / 1-3-0) and then followed that performance with the game winner vs LeTourneau (6-2-1 / 2-2-0). The Defensive Player of the Week honors were given to Megan Theros of Texas-Dallas (9-0-0 / 4-0-0). Theros led the Comets defense to two more shutouts over the weekend. She led a defense that blanked Texas-Tyler and only allowed three shots on goal.

In the NWC, Offensive Player of the Week honors went to Willamette’s (7-0-1 / 3-0-1) Shanna Keil. Keil had both goals against Linfield (4-2-2 / 1-1-2) in a 2-2 tie. She then kept the Bearcat offense alive taking many shots against Lewis and Clark (2-5-1 / 0-4-0) that finally led to a Willamette goal to take the win. Defensively, Goalkeeper Annalisa Klein George Fox (3-2-1 / 1-2-1) recorded shutouts against both Pacific (1-7-0 / 1-3-0) and Linfield.

In the SCIAC, Offensive Player of the Week went to Alexandria Fagerberg. The Cal Lutheran (4-1-2 / 3-1-1) defender had the game winner over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5-3-0 / 3-2-0) to keep the Regals' SCIAC winning record alive. Defensively, Occidental (4-0-2 / 3-0-2) senior goalkeeper, Sydney Tomlinson, helped the Tigers to a 1-1 double overtime draw with Redlands (5-2-1 / 4-0-1), and a 1-0 win over Chapman (5-5-0 / 2-3-0). Tomlinson, recorded a .900 save percentage, and an impressive 0.45 goals-against average. Her performance helped keep Occidental undefeated for the season.

In the SCAC, Chelsea Cole of Trinity (Texas) (5-1-1 / 4-0-0) was Offensive Player of the Week. Cole led the Tiger women’s soccer team to three shutout victories to open SCAC play last week, defeating Texas Lutheran (2-4-1 / 1-3-0), Austin (0-6-0 / 0-2-0), and previously unbeaten Centenary (La.) (6-3-0 / 4-3-0). Cole tied a school record by netting four scores in Friday’s win over Austin College. She was remarkably efficient in that she scored the four goals on just four shots, and also knocked in the eventual game-winner. Cole finished the week with five total goals on 10 shots. Defensively, Tiger defender, Lilah Bevins earned Player of the Week honors. Bevins led Trinity’s women’s soccer team to three shutout victories to open up SCAC play last week. The stingy Tiger defense only allowed six total shots in the three games.

Around the West Quick Hits

Pacific Lutheran (4-2-2 / 3-1-0) beats George Fox (3-2-1 / 1-2-1) 2-0. The Lutes are still in second place in conference play while Willamette and Whitworth are tied for first with a 3-0-1 conference record. But Puget Sound is right behind them at a 2-1-1 in conference. Between this conference and the SCIAC there is so much change at the top the race is so tight. It is hard to predict who will come out of the conference unlike the ASC or the SCAC it is really up in the air. In the SCIAC, for example favored Cal Lutheran (4-1-2 / 3-1-1) falls to Pomona-Pitzer (6-1-1 / 3-1-1) but then turns around and beats Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5-3-0 / 3-2-0). These conference races are really heating up it will be interesting to see who figures out how to get out of the conference and into the NCAA tournament.

In the SCAC, Trinity is back to dominating the conference, after losing to Hardin-Simmons 2-0 the Tigers have come back strong winning five straight and out outscoring their opponents 29-0. They handed previously undefeated Centenary their first loss, 5-0 and are now running the table. But the biggest surprise is Southwestern (5-3-0) creeping up. The Pirates now sit second in the conference at 3-0-0 in conference play. With a convincing 4-0 win over Centenary the Pirates seem to be in strong contention for second place. Will they be able to compete with national powerhouse Trinity? Only time will tell.

Looking Ahead

Texas-Tyler takes on Hardin-Simmons. While Texas-Tyler is in the process of reclassifying, they are still a quality opponent for the Cowgirls once again are favored to win the ASC. But with Texas-Dallas starting off the season 9-0-0, who knows what the end of conference play will bring. Those two teams won’t meet till October 13th. But this match between the Cowgirls and Texas-Tyler is almost always a tough match. The two teams have formed a budding rivalry the last few seasons. Texas-Tyler is the only team to beat the Cowgirls in ASC play since 2000.

Whitworth (5-1-2) heads to Willamette (7-0-1) or a clash of the top two teams in the NWC. Both teams are 3-0-1 in conference play and this game will be tough. Linfield (4-2-2 / 1-1-2) despite their record, they have played a tough schedule and have played in gritty games. With Whitman (1-6-1) and Whitworth coming up. The Wildcats have played well and down the stretch it might just be tough enough to be a real thorn in the rest of the NWC come conference tournament time.

Cal Lutheran at Redlands and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Occidental are the matches to watch in the SCIAC. This conference standings moves around a lot. On any given day most of the teams at the top can beat each other. But for this week Redlands sits on the Iron Throne of the SCIAC with a big target on their back.

 


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How the West was Won

 

How the West was Won provides coverage of Division III women's soccer in the NCAA West region, which with 41 has the fewest women's teams of the eight NCAA regions but which clearly covers the largest acreage. There are no Division III programs in several of the "Western" states while Johnson and Wales - Denver in year one of the provisional membership is Colorado's first. Texas (16) and California (11) account for most of the teams and adding the NWC programs in Oregon (5) and Washington (4) brings the total to 36 of the 41 teams in the region. ASC, NWC, SCAC and SCIAC are the confernces in the West region.

 

Each week the more significant results of the previous week are discussed, along with impressions and analysis, followed by the selection of a game to keep an eye on in the week ahead.

Columnist

Ryan Bascue

 

Ryan Bascue is a Hardin-Simmons University graduate (Communications, 2015; MBA in Sports Management, 2017). While at HSU, he worked for the entire spectrum of HSU Athletics while playing football. After football season, he worked for the sports information department as a student assistant for three years. While a graduate assistant, Ryan, had the opportunity to refine his sports knowledge and game-day management skills with responsibility for general day to day operations that come with working for a collegiate athletic department. [see full bio]

 

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