It is postseason time! While some Division I leagues still have a little bit of the regular season remaining, the lower divisions and the local Big Sky Conference are headed into the postseason with a number of former Shadow players contributing to their programs' success.
Let's start with the Big Sky, which is holding the playoff tournament right here in the greater Spokane area at EWU!
The Idaho Vandals, with the help of Alyssa Lloyd, Morgan Crosby and Alex Chambers, pulled away from the pack during the second half of the conference campaign, going unbeaten at 6-0-2 since their early-season loss at EWU to capture a second consecutive regular season championship. Typically, that would give them the right to host, but due to the destruction of their field in the weather, they Vandals have opted to host at EWU this week.
Lloyd started every game in her senior campaign for the Vandals and Crosby saw action in all 18 games as a freshman. The duo helped guide them to a great defensive campaign in which they allowed a league-best nine goals in nine games. The Vandals also finished with a league-high 29 goals for. Crosby scored her first career goal on a free kick in the next to last game for Idaho. Chambers saw limited action in seven games.
Montana snuck into the fourth spot late in the campaign, vaulting up the table thanks to a season finale victory at EWU, which finished fifth, in which Shadow players Ashlee Pedersen and Taryn Miller played a role. Eastern scored twice early, one from Shadow alum Chloe Williams to take the lead, but Miller helped keep the league's leading scorer off the board the rest of the way and the Griz rallied with Pedersen scoring the second tally.
Previously a defender the last two seasons for Montana, Pedersen moved up top this season for an offense that was struggling early on to find goals. As the season progressed they improved and Pedersen finished with three goals and three assists, starting 14 and playing in all 19 games. Miller saw action in 16 games on the back line in her sophomore campaign and helped the Griz finish with the second-best defense with just 10 goals allowed on the league campaign.
At Eastern, Williams finished atop the points (33) and goals (14) ledgers for the Big Sky, eclipsing numerous school career scoring records along the way during just her junior year. She was one of three Eags to start all 18 games with fellow Shadow alum Laci Rennaker in the starting 11 for 17 games. The senior tallied a pair of assists during a campaign in which she played a key role defensively for the Eags. Paige Galloway saw limited time in her senior season and Savannah Hoekstra was out most of the league campaign due to injury, but returned to the pitch in the finale and could be a factor in the postseason.
Elsewhere in the Big Sky, Caitlin Prothe started 14 of 18 games for the Sacramento State Hornets, tallying a goal and assist. Like Montana, the Hornets surged in the second half of the campaign and grabbed the second seed going into the postseason. Prothe helped Sac State finish with the third best defense with 11 goals allowed in Big Sky play.
Big Sky Awards
Announced Tuesday, Chloe Williams was recognized as the Offensive MVP for the second consecutive year, and the Golden Boot winner was obviously an All-Conference First Team selection. Caitlin Prothe was a Honorable Mention selection among the midfielders.
Big Sky Championship - Cheney, WA (EWU)
Wednesday, October 2
(6) Northern Colorado v Northern Arizona (3) 10:00 am
(5) Eastern Washington v Montana (4) 1:00 pm
Friday, October 4
EWU / Montana v Sacramento State (2) 10:00 am
No. Colorado / No. Arizona v Idaho (1) 1:00 pm
Sunday, October 6
** Be mindful of permit/meter parking as Wed/Fri games are during school hours.