Washington State fifth-year senior Elyse Bennett capped an outstanding season by being named a second-team 2021 NCAA Division I women’s All-American by the United Soccer Coaches, just the third Cougar in program history to claim that honor.
Bennett, who joins Morgan Weaver (2019) and Micaela Castain (2013) as All-Americans, is one of a program-record five Cougars named to the soccer coaches’ All-Pacific Region Team.
She finished the season with a career-best 10 goals and added four assists for a team high 24 points. For her career, Bennett had 26 goals and 12 assists, ranking sixth all-time in goals and points (64). Additionally, she is one of only two Cougars to appear in more than 90 matches, playing in 93, the second most all-time.
Record-setting freshman goalkeeper Nadia Cooper and senior defender Mykiaa Minniss, who captained the Cougars to 13 shutouts, joined Bennett on the Pacific Region first team. Fifth-year midfielder Sydney Pulver and senior midfielder Sydney Studer were on the second team. All are first-time all-region recipients.
The five tied WSU for the most in the Pac-12 region with UCLA, which also had three on the first team and two on the second.
• Santa Clara fifth-year senior forward Kelsey Turnbow, who started her high school career at Central Valley before moving to Arizona, was a first-team NSC All-America selection for a second time and was named to the Senior CLASS Award second team.
• Gonzaga senior defender Jordan Thompson was named to the first team and junior forward Erin Healy was on the second when the United Soccer Coaches’ All-West Region teams were announced.
Thompson, the third Zag to be named All-Region first team, finished as the all-time winningest player at GU. She started all 78 matches during her career and GU won 52 of them. Healy was eighth in the WCC with eight goals this season and 10th in points (17).
• Whitworth senior forward Gabriella Coprivnicar was named to the 2021 NCAA Division III Women’s All-Region third team by the United Soccer Coaches. The first-team All-Northwest Conference selection led Whitworth in goals (7), assists (7) and points (21). She ranked third in the conference in goals, second in assists and second in points.
Gonzaga junior outside hitter Kennedy Croft and grad student middle blocker Cara McKenzie both earned All-West Coast Conference volleyball honorable mention. Croft, an All-WCC honoree last season, led GU in kills (261) and service aces (34). McKenzie led the team in total blocks (68) and hitting percentage (.309).
• Eastern Washington redshirt senior linebacker Ty Graham (Cheney) and Idaho sophomore wide receiver Sean McCormick were named to the 2021 Big Sky Conference Football Community Service Team that recognizes one student-athlete from each school who has dedicated their time to helping others and making an impact on their campus and in the community.
• Gonzaga student-athletes are graduating at a rate of 98% according to the latest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) numbers released by the NCAA last week. That figure is tied for second best in the nation and is tops in the West Coast Conference. The WCC average is 92%.
Ten GU programs have perfect 100% GSR scores: women’s cross country and track and field and women’s golf, each for a 17th straight year; men’s cross country and track and field, 14th straight; men’s tennis, 13th straight; men’s soccer, 12th straight; women’s soccer, 11th straight (13th overall); men’s golf, 10th straight; women’s basketball, sixth straight; men’s basketball, fifth straight; and volleyball.
The GSR includes student-athletes who received athletic aid and enrolled as freshmen or transfer students between 2011-14 and completed their degree within six years.
• Washington State’s GSR score rose 3% to a record 90%, continuing a trend that has seen the score improve since 2008, when it was 77%. Thirteen of WSU’s 15 programs remained constant or improved over last year.
WSU had three programs – men’s basketball and women’s and men’s golf – with GSR scores of 100%. It marked the fourth-straight year men’s golf had a perfect score, the third straight for women’s golf and the second for men’s basketball.
Cougars athletics also saw improvement in single-year GSR scores with 12 programs recording perfect scores and all 15 tying or improving over last year’s score.
Spokane Chiefs’ Mason Beaupit was the WHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending Nov. 29.
The 6-foot-5, 184-pounder from Surrey, British Columbia, who is on the NHL Central Scouting list of players to watch ahead of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, stopped 59 of 61 shots that week, posting a 1-0-0-1 record, 0.96 goals-against average with a .967 save percentage.
The 18-year-old began the week on Nov. 24 by turning aside 23 shots as Spokane collected its first home victory of the season, 2-1 over the Kelowna Rockets. Two nights later in Kelowna, he made 36 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss, earning his second successive third-star honor.
• Chiefs rookies Saige Weinstein and Kooper Gizowski helped Canada Black secure a 5-4 overtime victory over Canada Red to win the 2021 U17 Capital City Challenge in Ottawa, Ontario, last week. The tournament matched four teams of Canada’s best U17 players.
Gizowski, Spokane’s second-round (40th overall) pick in the 2020 WHL Prospects Draft, had a goal and an assist in the tournament. Weinstein was the Chiefs’ first-round pick (18th overall). Both played in all five games.
Letters of intent
Idaho men’s golf: James Swan, North Idaho College.
Bryan Olson, who has been at Whitworth for 16 years as an athlete, assistant coach and the last six years as head coach of the women’s soccer program, has resigned to pursue missionary opportunities in Nepal.
Olson compiled a 55-43-11 record and guided the Pirates to third-place finishes in the Northwest Conference in 2017 and 2018.
“Over the past six years, Bryan has embodied the Whitworth mission and poured his heart and soul into his teams and coaches,” director of athletics Tim Demant was quoted in the release. “He will be missed, but I know God has amazing things in store for him as he takes this next leap of faith.”