College notebook: Sych scores another crucial goal for WWU

Union graduate connects on third game-winner

By Kurt Zimmer, Columbian Sports Reporter

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Western Washington University junior midfielder Brina Sych scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Saint Martin's last Thursday and added an assist Saturday in a 2-0 win over Western Oregon.

The Union High School graduate has 11 points (three goals, five assists) this season for the Vikings, who have won their last seven games by shutout -- not allowing a goal in a span of 630:15 -- and lead the Great Northwest Athletic Conference at 9-1. WWU is 12-2 overall, and ranked No. 25 in NCAA Division II.

Sych scored in the 68th minute against Saint Martin's at Orca Field in Bellingham. Her goal came after a shot from 10 yards by Catherine Miles was deflected away by Saints goalkeeper Ashley Engel. An SMU defender then tried to clear the ball, but Sych charged down the attempt and bundled the ball into the goal from four yards out.

"We didn't have our normal energy level today, but we found a way to win," WWU coach Travis Connell told wwuvikings.com. "Finding ways to win is something we've talked about, and we got it done today."

The goal was Sych's third of the season and her second game-winner.

"It was another big goal by Brina," Connell said. "It seems like all of them are when she scores."

Following a WWU corner kick two days later, a mad scramble ensued in front of the net, and Sych knocked the ball across the goalmouth to freshman midfielder Delanee Nilles, whose sliding effort rolled in.

WWU has outscored opponents 33-4 this season and 19-0 during its shutout streak.

Big Sky honors EWU's Black again

Eastern Washington forward Cassie Black was named women's soccer Big Sky Conference offensive player of the week for the third time thie season, this time for the week of Sept. 30 to Oct. 6.

The Battle Ground High School graduate is the only multiple winner of the award this season.

Black tallied her first collegiate hat trick in a 4-1 win Oct. 5 over North Dakota. Just a sophomore, Black already ranks third all-time at Eastern for career goals (14) and is fourth in points in the EWU record book.

With eight goals and two assists this season, Black ranks second in the Big Sky in points with 18. She leads the Eagles with a .641 on-goal percentage after putting 25 of her 39 season shots on frame.

Black has contributed four game-winning goals this year -- one fewer than Big Sky leader Rachel Strawn from Idaho State, and 19th nationally.

Black and the Eagles are 5-7-3 (2-3-2 Big Sky) heading into the final week of the regular season, battling for one of four spots in the conference tournament.

Thomas leads Zags at Inland Empire Classic

Gonzaga University junior Emily Thomas placed third individually and led the Bulldogs to the team victory at the Inland Empire Classic meet Saturday in Lewiston, Idaho.

The Camas High School graduate finished the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course in 17 minutes, 47 seconds.

Lewis-Clark State College senior Kelsey Klettke, a 2010 NAIA All-American who did not compete last year because of injury, was ninth in 18:20 for the meet host Warriors.

Thomas led four Gonzaga runners in the top eight finishers as the Bulldogs totaled 37 points.

Washington State, which had the top two finishers but no others in the top 15, was second with 71 points.

The women's race featured 107 runners representing 10 schools.

Running unattached, Evergreen High School graduate Paul Limpf won the 8-kilometer (5-mile) men's race in 24:28.

Limpf competed for Eastern Washington from 2005-08.

Suggestions for College Notebook? Contact Kurt Zimmer at 360-735-4563 or kurt.zimmer@columbian.com.