CWU women’s soccer earns first-ever regionals berth

Mitchell Johnson, Sports Editor

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Some people have different ways of coping while waiting to see if their team is going to make it into the NCAA tournament.

“I went to go mow my lawn so I didn’t have to think about it,” CWU women’s soccer coach Michael Farrand said. “I’d flip open the phone and check things out just to make sure what the score was.”

The score he was watching was California State Los Angeles (CSLA) vs. University California San Diego (UCSD). CSLA was the team that had a chance of bumping CWU out of the tournament.

After UCSD scored two goals in the first 17 minutes, Farrand was not worried anymore.

“So I turned my phone off, put the lawn mower back on and went on with the rest of the day,” Farrand said.

On Monday, CWU women’s soccer clinched the fifth seed in the western region, the team’s first ever birth at the D-II level.

“It’s something no other team has done before so we’re very excited,” junior forward Whitney Lowe said. “It’s new for all of us, to not be done at the [GNAC] tournament.”

Farrand has been the coach since 2001 overseeing the transition to when the Wildcats joined the GNAC and Division-II from NAIA.

“I’ve been here five years and we never really been anywhere close to [regionals],” senior midfielder Reilly Retz said.

The bracket is set up  regionally where three teams from the GNAC and California College Athletic Association (CCAA) playing each other within their conference with the winners facing off in the quarterfinals.

For the Wildcats first round opponent it will be a very familiar foe in Seattle Pacific University (SPU).

CWU were knocked out of the GNAC tournament by the Falcons losing 2-0, the Wildcats outshot them 15-3.

“We had some chances during the GNAC semi-final to put some goals on and didn’t quite get there,” Farrand said. “They got the one goal and we panicked a little bit and didn’t quite stay in what we do.”

That loss was the first one against SPU this season with the Wildcats winning 1-0 and tying them 1-1 during GNAC play.

“We know their game and they know ours,” Lowe said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out, but I definitely think after losing to them last week we have something to prove to that team and to everyone.”

Senior forward Hannah Hueser leads the Falcons with 12 goals, while 11 players contributed 18 other goals.

CWU has 14 different players score at least a goal this season.

“We don’t rely on one person to score,” Lowe said. “Our center forwards can score, wings can score, defenders score, everyone scores—knowing that anyone can score takes a lot of pressure off.”

SPU has been in 14 straight NCAA postseasons, while winning the national title in 2008.

With each team 1-1-1 in the season series this will decide who the better team is.

“It’s going to be a battle, both lives are on the line,” Retz said. “We’re a good team, they’re a good team, it’ll be fun.”

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CWU women’s soccer earns first-ever regionals berth