Big Sky soccer send off

The Weber State women’s soccer team setting up for a play during their game on Sept. 22 against Idaho.

Soccer teams across the Big Sky Conference have wrapped up regular season play and are preparing for the Big Sky Conference Soccer Championship in Greeley, Colorado, on Nov. 2-6.

Of the nine schools that have a soccer program, six teams have clinched a berth to the championships. Below, we will discuss each team’s rank headed into the tournament and how they secured that spot.

Both NAU and Idaho have a bye in the quarterfinals and will play their first games in the semifinals on Nov. 4. The Vandals will play the winner of the game against Portland State and Montana while the Lumberjacks will play the winner of the game against Weber State and Sacramento State.

No. 1 seed: Northern Arizona University

The ‘Jacks have been a powerhouse for the entirety of the preseason and regular season. They clinched the outright regular season title after going 7–1 in the Big Sky, with their only loss coming from their conference opener against Weber State on Sept. 29. The Wildcats handed Northern Arizona a 1–0 loss in Ogden. The last time the Lumberjacks secured the regular season title and headed into the championship tournament with the No. 1 seed was in 2010.

No. 2 seed: University of Idaho

The Vandals are close behind NAU sitting at 6–2 in conference play, with their two losses coming from NAU on Oct. 9 in a close 1–0 match and another close 2–1 match against the Sacramento State Hornets. In the 2021 championship tournament, the No. 5 Vandals were eliminated in the quarterfinals when No. 4 Weber State scored three unanswered goals.

No. 3 seed: Portland State University

The Vikings didn’t get into the 2021 tournament, finishing the season 2–5–2 in conference play. Looking to switch things around, the Vikings have achieved their highest seed since 2014 with a 4–2–2 record in conference play. PSU closed out their season on the road against NAU and dropped the match 3–0 to the Lumberjacks.

No. 4 seed: Sacramento State University

The Hornets finished the season 4–3–1 in the Big Sky, with losses coming from NAU, Montana and Idaho State and a tie against Portland State. A strength for the Hornets comes from their goalkeeper, Mia Shalit, who has finished the regular season with 10 or more saves in a game. Sacramento State will take on Weber State on Nov. 2, who they previously beat 1–0 in Sacramento.

No. 5 seed: Weber State University

The Wildcats are coming off a difficult season and have recently found success with a three game winning streak headed into the tournament with wins against Idaho State, the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Montana. With momentum on their side, Mekell Moss was named the Big Sky Defensive player of the week on Oct. 25. The Wildcats were the No. 4 seed in the 2021 tournament before falling to the Griz in the championship game.

No. 6 seed: University of Montana

Previously taking home the championship trophy, there were high hopes headed into the season that Griz ultimately couldn’t live up to. The Grizzlies finished conference play 3–4–1 with wins against Sacramento State, Northern Colorado and Idaho State. Despite falling to Weber State in their final game of the regular season, the Griz still qualified for seed. A powerhouse for the Griz has been goalkeeper Camellia Xu. In their freshman season, Xu earned Big Sky Conference Goalkeeper of the Year and currently has a season high of nine saves against NAU.

Seeding doesn’t guarantee anything and any of these teams have the capability of taking the championship. Weber State will play on Nov. 2 at 2 p.m.