The Western Washington University women’s soccer team is playing for a national championship this week, and players with local ties have played roles in the Vikings reaching this point.
Western (17-2-4) plays in its fifth NCAA Division II Final Four when the Vikings take on Columbus State (20-2-1) at 8 p.m. Thursday at Interbay Stadium in Seattle. The Vikings are the No. 3 seed while Columbus State is the No. 2 seed.
Two players from Snohomish County are members of Western’s team.
Granite Falls High School graduate Dayana Diaz is a senior forward for the Vikings. Diaz has started 21 of the 22 games she’s appeared in this season, scoring three goals. She was a sophomore when Western finished as national runner-up in 2019, scoring a goal in the Vikings’ 3-0 victory over Dixie State in the national quarterfinals.
Lynnwood native Payton Neal, who attended Bishop Blanchet High School, is a junior midfielder. She’s appeared in 21 games, including four starts, scoring one goal. She started Western’s 1-0 victory over Concordia in the West Regional championship game and the 3-1 victory over Colorado School of Mines in the quarterfinals.
In addition, Shorewood High School graduate Morgan Manalili, a first-year midfielder, has been a vital component to the team. Manalili has scored a team-leading 10 goals, including scoring against both Concordia and Colorado School of Mines.
The winner of Thursday’s game faces the winner between No. 1 West Chester (22-0-1) and No. 4 Ferris State (12-5-7) at 3 p.m. Saturday at Interbay Stadium for the national championship. Western claimed its only national title in 2016.
Johnston stars as CSU advances to quarterfinals
Snohomish High School graduate Josh Johnston, now a senior receiver on the Colorado School of Mines football team, played a starring role as the Orediggers defeated the Minnesota State Mavericks 48-45 Saturday in Golden, Colorado, to advance to the NCAA Division II national quarterfinals.
The Orediggers trailed 28-14 late in the first half when Johnston went to work, catching three touchdown passes in the span of six minutes — two late in the first half, one early in the second — as Colorado School of Mines surged into the lead. He finished the game with five catches for 78 yards.
The Orediggers (11-2) face Angelo State (12-0) in the quarterfinals at 11 a.m. Pacific Time on Saturday in San Angelo, Texas.
Silvertips sign prospect forward Kaplan
The Everett Silvertips signed 15-year-old forward Lukas Kaplan to a standard player agreement, thus securing the prospect’s commitment for the future.
Kaplan, a native of Spruce Grove, Alberta, was a sixth-round selection in the 2022 WHL prospects draft. This season he has 13 goals and 16 assists in 12 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme under-17 team.
Kaplan is the fifth member of the 2022 draft class to sign with Everett, joining forward Julien Maze, defensemen Ethan Makokis and Kaeson Fisher, and goaltender Corbin Sanderman. Players drafted in 2022 are first eligible to join the Tips full-time next season.
PBR returning to Everett
The Professional Bull Riders tour is returning to Everett, as it will hold the PBR Everett Invitational on April 19-20 at Angel of the Winds Arena. The tour made its Everett debut last April when Brazil’s Kaique Pacheco won the Unleash the Beast event at Angel of the Winds. This year’s event had been upgraded to a two-day Elite/Premier Series event.
Tickets go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. on Dec. 9 on the Angel of the Winds Arena website.
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