Who will advance to the Final Four - Soccer Quarterfinals Preview
Women’s Quarter Finals – November 5th
East #2 North Idaho at South #1 Clark
North Idaho advances to the quarter finals after a solid 2nd half, 3 goal performance against visiting Green River. The 3rd ranked NIC defense held true recording their 9th shutout of the season. Sophomore goalkeeper Tiegan Horton recorded 4 big saves in the match and leads the NWAC with a 91.4 SV% on 58 shots on goal. Clark enters the playoffs after clinching their first ever Regional Championship on the coat tails of Molly Joyce (25 goals, 2nd in the NWAC) and Ellie Quercia (11 assists, T-1st in the NWAC). The Penguins rank 6th in goals scored (60), 4th in goals allowed (14), and 3rd in shutouts (11). These two teams last met back in August at the NWAC Friendlies in a match where the Penguins won 2-0.
The winner advances to the Semi-Finals in Tukwila, and will play the winner of Walla Walla and Peninsula.
East #3 Walla Walla at North #1 Peninsula
The 8th ranked Warriors went on the road and survived a hard fought 1-0 match against the 7th ranked Titans on Wednesday. The NWAC leader in goals (29) Haley Berryman did what she does best, scoring in the 78th minute with a brilliant shot to the far post from just inside the box. The lone goal was enough thanks to Walla Walla goalkeeper, Paige Kubista who recorded 8 saves in the match, posting her 5th shutout of the season. The dynasty that is Peninsula has now won it’s 6th consecutive Regional Championship in 7 years of the programs existence. This year’s #1 overall ranked team could be the best of them all with a defense that has allowed just 33 shots on goal all season (#1 in the NWAC), and only 5 sneaking past goalkeeper Akari Hoshino 90.9 SV%. The offenses 84 goals scored this season is second in the NWAC and is led by Hoku Afong (14) and Sydney Warren (10). Walla Walla and Peninsula last met in the 2013 Semi-Finals, a game in which Peninsula won 2-0 and later went on to win the NWAC Championship.
The winner advances to the Semi-Finals in Tukwila, and will play the winner of North Idaho and Clark.
North #2 Everett at West #1 Highline
Everett turned in the most dominating playoff performance in NWAC history with their 9-0 win over Southwestern Oregon. The Trojans were firing on all cylinders, lead by sophomore Claire Nelson who scored a goal, but more impressive recorded 6 assists of the 9 goals scored. Highline has the 2nd longest active win streak in the NWAC and the 2nd ranked defense allowing only 9 goals all season and 11 shutouts. Sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Thompson is one of the best in the NWAC with 82 saves and a 90.1 SV%. The defense is supplemented with a quick striking attack lead by Chentay Warnes (13 goals, 6 assists), Madasin Jennings (12 goals, 2 assists) and Bianca Acuario (9 goals, 7 assists). Everett and Highline met early last season at the NWAC Friendlies, where the match ended in a scoreless draw. Everett returns 4 sophomores from that match, while Highline may have the advantage returning 8 sophomores.
The winner advances to the Semi-Finals in Tukwila, and will play the winner of Lane and Spokane.
South #2 Lane at East #1 Spokane
The Lane Titans entered the playoffs as one of the best defensive teams in the tournament, and were able to shutout their opponents for the 5th consecutive match and 11th time total this season (2nd in the NWAC). The connection was strong between Ally King and Erin Riley on Wednesday, as the duo connected three times (King assisting all of Riley’s goals). This was Lane’s 3rd straight year of facing Shoreline in the playoffs, and now the 3rd straight year of advancing to the Quarter Finals. Spokane began the season as the #1 ranked team as last year’s reigning champions and return 10 sophomores from last year’s squad. The Sasquatch remain to be the only unbeaten team in the NWAC with a 17-0-4 record, and have 4 of the top 15 goal scorers in the NWAC. Erica Simpson and Jenna Sullens both have 19 recorded goals while Maddy Boyd and Stephanie Overland have contributed 13 and 12 on the season. This will be a match of high scoring offense (Spokane with 85 goals on the season, #1 in the NWAC) and the tough hard-nosed defense of Lane. On paper this looks to be the best match of all Quarter Final matchups.
The winner advances to the Semi-Finals in Tukwila, and will play the winner of Everett and Highline.
Men’s Quarterfinals – November 5th
West #3 Pierce at South #1 Chemeketa
Pierce advances after a thrilling 1-0 victory on the road against North Idaho. Christian Guzman scored just his 2nd goal of the season on a bomb from 10 yards outside of the box. The lone goal and 5 recorded saves from goalkeeper Konnor Sokalski was enough to put Pierce into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007. Chemeketa has been a perennial playoff contender from the South region since program birth in 2008, and has now been the #1 seed for the 3rd time. The Storm are lead by a trio of dangerous goal scorers in Luis Armenta (7), Julio Miranda (8) and Gustavo Mendoza (8). Pierce and Chemeketa last met back in September where the game ended in a 1-1 draw. The two teams are very familiar with each other, stemming back from Pierce’s days in the Southern region. Chemeketa has dominated the series winning 14 of the 16 all time matches.
The winner advances to the semi-finals in Tukwila, and awaits the winner of Tacoma and Peninsula.
West #2 Tacoma at North #1 Peninsula
Tacoma won on Wednesday in a 3-1 shootout thriller over visitor Walla Walla, where sophomore goalkeeper Evan Munn made 3 huge saves to advance Tacoma into the quarterfinals. This is the 3rd straight trip to the quarters for the Titans, where last year they went on the road to upset #1 Clark and advanced to the semi’s. They will have to do the same this year on the road at Peninsula. Peninsula is the unanimous #1 ranked team in the NWAC with a 16-0-2 record on the season. Their +54 goal differential is also ranked #1 along with their 68 total goals on the season. The Pirates high octane offense is lead by Cesar Gervacio (13 goals) and Juan Carillo (10 goals) and have 5 players with 5 or more assists (most in the NWAC). Tacoma and Peninsula last met in the 2015 season when the Pirates were in the West Region. The two games ended in a 2-0 win for Peninsula, and a 2-2 draw.
The winner advances to the semi-finals in Tukwila, and awaits the winner of Chemeketa and Pierce.
North #2 Whatcom at West #1 Highline
Whatcom gave up an early goal in the 6th minute against visiting Portland on Wednesday, but the defense returned to it’s true form and did not concede another goal. The attack was lead by Eric Jones who contributed 3 assists in the 4 goal total that advanced Whatcom into the next round. Highline enters the post season as the #1 rated defensive team, allowing just 71 shots, and 12 goals all season. The offense is lead by freshman Jason Rodriguez (11 goals, 4 assists) and returning all-star from last season Jandjamuje Maharero (8 goals, 7 assists). This is predicted to be a low scoring affair with two top four defenses and it may just be the first to score wins.
The winner advances to the semi-finals in Tukwila, and awaits the winner of Edmonds and Spokane.
North #3 Edmonds at East #1 Spokane
After making the 3 hour trip down to Vancouver, Edmonds will have to get back on the bus and travel 4 ½ hours to Spokane this Saturday. The Tritons got a brilliant performance out of leading goal scorer Mohamed Elmoghrbi (16 goals, 3rd in the NWAC), who scored a goal in the 50th minute to tie the game 1-1 and again in the 1st minute of overtime to secure the sudden victory win for Edmonds over South #2 Clark. The 2015 runners up of Spokane started the season with a tough schedule, and had many wondering if the 1-3-2 Sasquatch could be a repeat playoff team. Since then Spokane rattled off a 5 game winning streak, and are currently riding a 7 game winning streak (longest active streak in the NWAC). The Sasquatch are lead by the NWAC’s leading goal scorer (20), returning All-Star Jonathan Cortez. This match up features two of the top 3 NWAC goal scorers and will be a test of experience versus youth. Spokane has 14 sophomores on the roster (most in the playoffs) compared to Edmonds 6 (2nd fewest in the playoffs).
The winner advances to the semi-finals in Tukwila, and awaits the winner of Whatcom and Highline.