Photo Credit: Robert White
With three teams in the Top 25 for the MCLA DII, the PNCLL is starting off the 2014 season strong.
Below are the PNCLL DII teams in order of how the currently stand in the rankings and my comments on their position.
Division II North
Starting off with a strong 3-0 record, Gonzaga is the first team to guarantee a spot in the 2014 PNCLL DII playoffs. Even though they haven’t played the strongest teams in their league, they have shown some fire power forcing 61 goals thus far while only allowing 10. Gonzaga has one of the youngest squads in the PNCLL with over half of their team being freshmen, but they definitely aren’t lacking the confidence. It will be very interesting to see how long the Zags can keep this winning streak alive.
With only one game under their belts, it is hard to tell where Puget Sound is heading. The Loggers didn’t show much fight against Gonzaga in their 4 to 27 loss in Spokane. If Puget Sound wants a winning season, they will definitely have to improve their questionable defense.
Even though they are 0-2 with a rough loss against University of Idaho, Central Washington has shown some life and obvious improvement. Jeremy Veilleux, the 2013 All-Conference Honorable Mention midfielder, is back for his Senior season and is nothing short of a stud with face-offs. Veilleux helped the Wildcats hold Gonzaga’s quick shooting offense to a season low of 13 goals. I can’t wait to see how they match up against the PNCLL DII South’s up and coming team, Southern Oregon University, on March 15th.
The Lutes have taken one step backwards this season. The bad news is that they are 0-4 with only nine goals forced during these four games, while the worst news is that teams are averaging 22.75 goals against them. I don’t expect them to win a game this season, but at least their Girls Softball Team won a NCAA DIII National Championship in 2012?
Usually it is hard to analyze a team after only one game, but this isn’t Western Washington’s case. At 0-1, the Vikings might not be looking so hot at first. But when you see that this loss was to Simon Fraser, one of the best teams in the MCLA DI, they aren’t looking so bad anymore. The real fact that shows me that WWU will be a huge threat this season though, is that they were able to score more points against Simon Fraser than any other team this season. This includes MCLA DI powerhouses University of Oregon and Brigham Young University. Watch out Western Oregon, because on March 8th, Western Washington will be coming for some revenge for their 2013 PNCLL DII Semi-finals loss.
Division II South
With the biggest legacy in the PNCLL DII division, Western Oregon is living up to their expectations. The Wolves average 25.67 points a game, which is easily the highest in the PNCLL DII. What really impresses me though is their February 1st performance against University of Oregon. The Wolves were up by two at half, and barely let it slip away for a close loss. Since then, they are undefeated and don’t expect to lose anytime soon.
This squad is responsible for one of the best quarters in PNCLL DII history. For the very first quarter of their season, the Yotes went up 12 to zero against Pacific Lutheran University. Later in that game, the College of Idaho was also able to put up seven points in the third quarter. Even though they’ve only played one game and it wasn’t against a very strong opponent, these Yotes can definitely put up a few on the scoreboard in just a blink of the eye.
Home to one of the most impressive defenses in the Northwest, Southern Oregon has been having an impressive season. They are only allowing an average of 5.8 goals a game thanks to their two goalies with 69% and 67% save rates. After a disappointing loss to University of Nevada, Reno; Southern Oregon is getting ready to play University of Portland on March 8th for the unofficial second place position in the PNCLL DII South.
After starting off with an impressive 17 to two victory over Pacific Lutheran, Whitman has not been showing much life. Junior captain Maxwell Skotheim is this team’s heart and soul. Having a huge game against PLU with eight goals and one assist, Skotheim was able to set the tone and create momentum in order to help Whitman to a big win. Besides the game against the Lutes, Skotheim has only produced three goals which has resulted in a low energy offense.
These 2013 PNCLL DII Finalists aren’t having the season they expected. Starting off 2-2 with upsetting losses to University of Montana and University of Nevada, Reno; University of Portland is only lucky they haven’t started conference play yet. It will be interesting to see if Portland will be able to pilot their way back into a winning season this Saturday against in-conference rivals, Southern Oregon University.
Forget those rankings, they don’t mean anything! I’d like to rearrange it a bit…
Henry’s PNCLL DII Ranking
PNCLL DII North
- Western Washington
- Central Washington
- Puget Sound
- Pacific Lutheran
PNCLL DII South
- Western Oregon
- Southern Oregon
- College of Idaho