Willamette Moves into Tie for 7th in West Region Rankings

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- A weekend sweep of Northwest Conference games has resulted in the Willamette University women's soccer team moving up three spots into a tie for seventh in the NCAA Division III West Region Rankings this week, as released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

Willamette, which was ranked #10 in each of the past three weekly rankings, is now 9-6-1 overall, 8-3-1 in the NWC.

Last week, Willamette rolled past Pacific Lutheran University, 5-1, on Saturday, Oct. 22 and defeated the University of Puget Sound, 2-1, on Sunday, Oct. 23. Both games were played at Sparks Field on the Willamette campus.

Stephanie Skelly (Sr., MF, Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) scored three goals and earned one assist during the week. She provided both goals in the victory over Puget Sound, including the winning goal with 21 seconds remaining in the second half.

Skelly has scored 13 goals this season while earning two assists. She is WU's leading scorer with 28 total points.

Four of the nine teams in the Northwest Conference are bunched together at the top of the league standings. Tied for first place are Linfield College (8-2-2 in the NWC) and Puget Sound (8-2-2), each with 26 points (3 for each win, 1 for each tie). Willamette (8-3-1) and Whitworth (7-2-4) are tied for third place with 25 points, just one point behind the leaders.

Linfield, UPS and Willamette each have four regular season NWC games remaining. Whitworth has just three more NWC contests on its schedule.

The leader in the West Region Rankings is Trinity University (Texas) with a 15-0-0 record. Hardin-Simmons University (Texas) is listed at #2 with a 15-1-0 record, while California Lutheran University is #3 at 17-1-0.

University of Texas-Dallas is #4 and owns a 13-3-0 mark. Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) is #5 at 9-4-1 and Puget Sound is #6 at 10-3-2. Willamette and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) share the #7 spot, with CMS holding a 7-5-3 record.

Linfield is ranked #9 with an 11-3-2 record. Whitworth (7-4-4 overall), and University of Redlands (Calif.), 8-5-1 on the season, are tied for #10 this week.

The Bearcats have scored a total of 30 goals in 2011. Skelly's 13 lead the way, but an additional 12 players have each scored at least one goal. Willamette's goalkeepers, Nicole Price (Sr., Auburn, WA/Thomas Jefferson HS) and Gina Barbieri (Fr., Medford, OR/St. Mary's School), have combined for a 1.29 overall goals against average.

Willamette will take on George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., on Saturday, Oct. 29. Game time is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).

Regional Rankings

NSCAA Regional Rankings
NCAA Division III West Region
Released on Oct. 25, 2011

Sarah Desautels has helped the Bearcats earn a 9-6-1 overall record, including 8-3-1 in the NWC.

Sarah Desautels has helped the Bearcats earn a 9-6-1 overall record, including 8-3-1 in the NWC.