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August 7, 2019

Jeff Evans
Western Washington University Athletic Department
(360) 650-6800

WWU Women's Soccer Opens 2019 Season Ranked No. 11 Nationally

The Western Washington University women’s soccer team from Bellingham, WA will open the 2019 season ranked No. 11 nationally in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II Preseason Poll.

WWU is coming off a 17-3-3 season in 2018 that resulted in a fourth consecutive NCAA II West Regional Championship appearance, and returns nine starters and 20 total letterwinners for the upcoming season.

The Vikings finished last season ranked No. 11 in the nation and the preseason ranking extends a streak of consecutive national polls to 53 consecutive. WWU has advanced to the NCAA Championships in each of the last seven seasons, combining to go 136-14-9 (.884) during this span.

Last year’s national runner-up Grand Valley State is the preseason No. 1-ranked team, with the University of Bridgeport No. 2 and West Region rival UC San Diego No. 3. The Vikings are scheduled to play a pair of teams in the preseason national top 25, visiting Colorado School of Mines (No. 15) on Sept. 25 in Golden, Colorado and Great Northwest Athletic Conference rival Concordia (No. 22) on Oct. 31 in Portland.

Headlining WWU’s list of returning players includes junior All-American goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx (0.53 GAA, 8 shutouts in 2018), senior forward Karli White (injured in 2018, 10 goals, 8 assists in 2017), GNAC Freshman of the Year Dayana Diaz (7 goals) and three of four starting defensive players – seniors Annaliese Laurila, Emily Nelson and Lindsey Fujiwara.

Head coach Travis Connell enters his 17th season at the helm of the women’s program and 24th overall at WWU. The Vikings are 238-69-28 (.752) all-time under Connell with a string of 15 consecutive winning seasons, the 8th-longest active streak amongst NCAA Division II programs.

The Vikings are scheduled to report back to campus for preseason workouts on August 18 (Sunday) and will play exhibition matches against the University of Fraser Valley (8/23, Bellingham, 6 pm), Trinity Western (8/27, Langley, BC, 7 pm) and the University of British Columbia (8/29, Vancouver, BC, 7 pm). The official 2019 season opener will be on the road on September 5 at MSU Denver, with the home opener September 12 vs. Sonoma State at Harrington Field.

About WWU Soccer

The Western Washington University women’s soccer program has risen to the top of the Division II ranks, with a string of seven consecutive appearances in the NCAA Championships. WWU has advanced to the NCAA II Final Four in three of the last six seasons and played for the West Region championship in six of the last seven seasons. The Vikings won the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2016 with an undefeated 24-0-1 record, beating three-time defending national champion Grand Valley State 3-2 in the title game in Kansas City, Missouri. Including the national championship run, the Vikings put together a 39-game winning streak (4th-longest in NCAA II history) and a 40-game unbeaten streak. The program has claimed six of the last seven Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season titles, going 80-5-5 (.917) in league play during this stretch, and has won three of the last four GNAC Championships titles (2005, 2016, 2017). Head coach Travis Connell enters his 17th season leading the program in 2019, and has led the Vikings to nine trips to the NCAA Championships and 15 consecutive winning seasons. Since the start of the 2013 season, WWU has built a 117-10-9 record (.893), the second-best among all NCAA Division II programs during this six-season stretch.

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