During a Nov. 3 conference phone call originating from the NCAA national office in Indianapolis, Western Oregon learned its women's soccer season was finished
The Wolves were not included in the 24-team national soccer playoff field.
The three west regional squads selected to play were No. 1 seed UC San Diego, No. 2 UC Davis and No. 3 San Francisco State. Play will begin this Wednesday, Nov. 13 with San Francisco State traveling to UC Davis. The winner will be hosted by UC San Diego on Nov. 16.
"It is a little confusing and difficult to understand," Wolves coach Rod Fretz said. "Part of this just comes with the territory of having only three slots available, and I am sure that we are not the only disappointed team. But based on our record against in-region opponents and our wins on the road against UC Davis and Sonoma State, I thought that we would get in."
The only factor not in dispute regarding the west region final field is the fact that UC San Diego is the No. 1 seed. The defending national champion Tritons have sat in that position all season long.
But UC Davis, which had lost and tied in its final regular season games, surprisingly grabbed the number two spot. San Francisco State made a late season run, topping Davis and Sonoma State at the end of the year but still did not even make its own conference tournament last week.
The Wolves at least can celebrate back-to-back winning seasons. WOU's 11-6-1 mark translates to a winning percentage of .639, best in school history. The 2001 squad holds the
mark for most wins in a season (12-8, .600).
WOU had three first-team selections two seconds on the All Great Northwest Athletic Conference team. Junior forward Mariel Chandler was a repeat first-team pick, and was joined by teammates Mary Mulkey and Katie Williams, also both juniors. Senior defender Shelley Comstock earned
second team consideration, and did junior goalkeeper Moani Mundo. Gaining honorable mention recognition were juniors Lydia Shannon, Cori Juba and Jeanie Thomson. Western Oregon and Seattle tied for the most first-team members selected with three each.
Western Oregon's men finished ninth and the women were tenth at the NCAA Division II Western Regional Championships on Nov. 3 at Woodward Park in Fresno, Calif
Chico State ran away with the men's title with 43 points, while UC Davis edged Chico for the women's crown, 86-91.
Chase Wells was WOU's top runner on the men's side, finishing in 21st place. The Wolves, who placed third two weeks ago in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference meet, saw four GNAC teams finish in front of them on a sunny, but cool morning.
"We really thought that we had a chance coming into the race to get into the top three and the spot at nationals that goes with it," said WOU coach Rob Wood. "We went at it pretty aggressive and maybe paid the price a bit in the longer race." The regional meet was run at 10K, compared to 8K for the conference championships.
Senior Ellie Enos was WOU's top female runner (37th) with freshman Amber Brougher next in 48th. Senior Jill Salmon, who earned All-GNAC honors two weeks ago and has been the Wolves top runner all season long, suffered from a stomach illness and was WOU's third runner in 57th place.
"It was unfortunate for Jill to have the stomach problems crop up now, but I really thought that the rest of our women really stepped up," Wood said. "Our top five runners really ran well, and we made a big jump from a year ago."
Both squads improved on 13th place finishes from the 2001 meet.
WOU results, men (10K) -- (21) Chase Wells 33:57; (38) Will Smith 34:46, (40) Spencer Walsh 34:48, (51) Brett Franz 35:07, (52) Ethan Barrons 35:08, (61) Jerret Mantales 35:38, (70) Aaron Eckert 36:06. Women (8K) -- (37) Ellie Enos 23:29, (48) Amber Brougher 23:53, (57) Jill Salmon 24:03, (73) Stephanie Upshaw 24:50, (79) Niki McCorkle 24:59, (95) Sarah Block 25:53, (100) Leah Trutna 26:11.
Western Oregon's 2002 volleyball season will come to a close this week with matches at Central Washington and Saint Martin's
WOU will look to finish the season strong in what has been a disappointing year for Coach Judy Lovre and company. The Wolves hope to snap a seven-match losing streak, which equals their second longest of the season.
The Wolves suffered one of their more heartbreaking defeats on Nov. 7 at home against Seattle Pacific (3-2). In a wild and entertaining encounter, the Wolves held a 2-1 lead on the Falcons and had three match points in the fourth game before losing, 35-33. They would also drop the fifth game, 15-13.
Lovre's team has lost five five-game matches this year, and have been close in many other four-game matches but just haven't been able to put teams away.
Western Oregon jumped out to an 34-13 lead in the first 12 minutes and never trailed in defeating the Australia Institute of Sport 90-76 in an exhibition game at the Physical Education Building on Nov. 1
The Wolves rode that quick breakaway, along with Robert Day's 19 first-half points and Sean Kelly's 16 at intermission to cruise to the win.
Kelly, nephew of former WOU coach Tom Kelly, finished with 25 points in new head coach Tim Hills' debut. Day had 23, while Kevin Broderick-Kartye added 12 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman point guard Kevin Tyner had nine points, nine assists and two turnovers.
Matt Simonson drilled four of six three-pointers and had 14 points. As a team, WOU hit 11 of 29 trey attempts.
Western Oregon will host the Son Angels on Nov. 18 in its final exhibition game before opening the regular season on Nov. 22 against defending NCAA Division II national champion Metro State.