September 11, 2018

How the West was Won - Week 2

By Ryan Bascue

This is the last week of nonconference matchups except in the SCIAC where conference play began this week. It is great to see teams take on teams that they would not normally see until a few rounds in the NCAA tournament and it is a good learning experience. The teams are trying to establish and set their line ups for conference play to put themselves in the best position possible. But also teams will start catching early momentum as the season progresses.

Player(s) of the Week; Week One

In the ASC, Texas-Tyler’s Mariah Harmon and LeTourneau’s Reagan Sandford shared Co-Offensive Player of the Week honor. Harmon had the game winner and an assist in the Patriot’s season opening 2-1 victory over Rhodes. Sandford, a freshman, scored her first two goals of her collegiate career over the weekend also was credited an assist. Defensively, Texas-Dallas, senior defender, Mandy Avalos, helped lead a defense that allowed the Comet’s two opponents (Alfred and Hiram) to a combined 11 shots on the weekend and two shutouts.

In the NWC, offensive player of the week was Lewis and Clark’s Ella Viesturs. Viesturs had three goals over the weekend including two goals against Fontbonne and one against Carroll. On defense, Linfield’s, Taylor Cole, played all 90 minutes in both games against Warner Pacific and Northwest and only allowed five shots all weekend. Cole also scored a goal against Warner Pacific.

In the SCAC, junior forward, Kyra Montes of Centenary (La.) had a goal and assist in the season opener against Belhaven. On defense, Trinity (Texas), Kristen Canepa helped lead a Tiger defense to a pair of shutouts at home against Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound. The Tigers only allowed 18 shots all weekend including overtime minutes.

In the SCIAC, freshman forward from Occidental, Rachel Kolpa scored her first and second goals of her career against Knox to secure the 2-1 win. On defense, Cal Lutheran’s Gabby Flores recorded five saves and two shutouts against Augsburg and Hamline.

Game of the Week

The game of the week was No. 4 Hardin-Simmons (2-1-0) at No.12 Trinity (1-1-1). Kenne Kessler (2) scored in the 36th minute off a long looper. The Cowgirls would then extend their lead to 2-0, it would be credited as an own goal but it was off a Kessler deflection of a cross by Josey Meyer. Caitlin Christiansen was credited with three saves for the Cowgirls and the shutout. The Cowgirls outshot the Tigers 12 to 7 with four of those on goal to Trinity’s three. This match has playoff implications on it. These two teams will most likely meet again in the NCAA tournament. As it is early in the season, both squads are still working out the kinks and trying to find that perfect line up. This is a matchup most fans seem to always look forward to this game it is always exciting and always thrilling. Two of the traditional powerhouses battling it out, what more could you want?

Around the West Quick Hits

Pacific Lutheran (1-1-2) took on Mary Hardin-Baylor (1-2-1) on Friday and despite being outshot 12-8 the Lutes came out on top against the Cru 2-0. Rachel Ross (1) scored first in the 63rd minute off of a Liz Griffith assist. The Lutes would score again in the 74th minute off of a goal by Ellie Johnson (1). But the most impressive aspect of this game was the Lutes goalie play. Natalie Robinson played the full match and recorded 9 saves including six in the second half. The Lutes, played again on Saturday against MIAA conference member, Calvin (3-0-1). The game resulted in a 1-1 tie after two overtimes. The Lutes scored first with Jamie Saito (1) in the 14th minute on a corner kick on an assist by Maddie Landreth. Calvin would then tie the game up in the 17th minute on a Maria Vanderlei (2) goal off an assist by Emily Van Vliet. 

Pomona-Pitzer (4-0-0) opened up SCIAC play in a big way with an 8-0 win over Caltech (1-2-0). Peri Cuppens (1) drew first blood for the Sagehens in the 4th minute off an assist by Brianna Lau. The two teammates would flip roles and Lau (2) would score in the 9th minute off of a Cuppens assist. Maya Nitschke-Alonso (1) would add one more goal in the half in the 42nd to go into halftime at 3-0. In the second half, the Sagehens really opened up the floodgates by scoring five goals. Emily Tomz (1) scored in the 52nd, then Bria VarnBuhler (4) in the 58th, then Anna Ponzio added two of her own in the 63nd and the 65th and finally Chloe Hamer (1) added the final goal of the day in the 88th. The Sagehens would finish the weekend by defeating La Verne (0-3-1) 3-0. Anna Ponzio added another goal giving her 5 goals on the season in just four games.

Looking Ahead

Week three has the ASC, SCAC and the NWC start conference play this week. The SCIAC as one of the stronger conferences in the nation has tough match-ups week after week. Pomona-Pitzer at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will be a good midweek matchup. Pomona-Pitzer comes in at 4-0-0 and CMS enters the contest at 3-1-0 both teams have impressed in nonconference play. Over the weekend, the most intriguing matchup is CMS at Cal Lutheran (2-0-2). This conference is loaded and very top heavy. Expect a lot of scrappy matches.

In the ASC, the most fascinating match is Texas-Tyler (3-0-0) at Texas-Dallas (4-0-0). Texas-Tyler is in the process of reclassifying to DII so this season they are ineligible to qualify for ASC championships or NCAA post season. They have been a top program in the ASC for several seasons. Transition are always weird but Coach Stefani Webb runs a tough program they should do well once fully classified. This matchup will be something to keep an eye on because both teams are usually at the top of the ASC year after year and this year both teams are starting hot and undefeated.


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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.


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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