What to know about each DII women’s soccer semifinalist
The national semifinals of the 2022 DII women’s soccer championship are set to kick off from Seattle, Washington at the DII Festival on Dec. 1. There will be a new national champion in 2022 DII women’s soccer as the defending champs Grand Valley State — which had appeared in the previous three title matches — was upset by GLIAC rival Ferris State in a third-round upset in the DII women’s soccer championship tournament.
Not only will we have a new champion for 2022, but there is a chance we will have a first-time, brand-new DII women’s soccer champion. Of the final four teams heading to the DII Festival, only one — Western Washington — has won a national title… but more on the Vikings in a bit.
BRACKET: See how it all went down
Here’s a quick look at each team’s standings in the 2022 DII women’s soccer championship.
No. 1 West Chester | Record: 22-0-1
The Golden Rams entered the national semifinals without a loss to their name. That’s a big improvement from the 12-5-3 West Chester team last season. It’s been quite the run so far: West Chester won its first PSAC tournament since 2010, is advancing to its first national semifinals since 2006, and is looking to win it all for the first time in program history.
The recipe for the Golden Rams’ success isn’t hard to find. This team leads DII women’s soccer in goals-against-average by a wide margin (.301 GAA with the next closest being .447 GAA!). That starts with keeper Hayley McGee who’s allowed a mere seven goals this season. Her 15 shutouts are tops in DII, as is her .933 save percentage. Of course, she’s not alone, as West Chester’s defense has been one of the strongest all season long. Just don’t sleep on this offense as it still finished in the top 20 of DII with 2.48 goals per match.
No. 2 Columbus State | Record: 20-2-1
The Cougars are no strangers to postseason soccer, finishing as the national runners-up in 2015. This is the program’s third trip to the semifinals as well. However, the high-octane Cougars are searching for their first-ever national title, and this is the offense that may be able to get it done.
The complete opposite of No. 1 West Chester, Columbus State leads DII women’s soccer in scoring, averaging 3.87 goals per game. However, the Cougars only allowed 0.65 goals against, so you can see how they dominated opponents this season. There were only six total matches so far in the DII women’s soccer championship that a team scored four or more goals… and the Cougars were two of them. It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Columbus State has not one, but two of the top-5 goal scorers in the division, with Emma Beddow and Rachael Sweigard each tallying 19 goals so far.
HISTORY: Every DII women’s soccer national champion
No. 3 Western Washington | Record: 17-2-4
We come to the one semifinalist that has a shiny national championship trophy sitting in its case back home. In fact, back home isn’t too far from the DII Festival, as Bellingham, WA, is less than 90 miles away — making the Vikings the closest team still competing and likely receiving a boost in home-court feeling. This is the Vikings’ third trip to the national semifinals in the past six tournaments (remember, there was no bracket in 2020). Western Washington won it all in 2016 with a 23-0-1 record and lost in overtime to Grand Valley State in the 2019 title match. Like its distance to Seattle, championship-match experience is also not so far away in the past.
Per usual, this team is driven by defense, allowing a mere 0.48 goals per game, while scoring just about two goals per match. Keep an eye on Morgan Manali. Despite all the WWU program experience playing in big time games, it was the GNAC freshman of the year that hit the game-winner in the GNAC championship match.
No. 4 Ferris State | Record 12-5-7
Meet the Cinderella of the dance. The Bulldogs upset no. 3 Ashland, no. 2 Cedarville and then defending champion and No. 1 Grand Valley State to win the Midwest for their first-ever Midwest Region championship. After blanking Bemidji State — another No. 2 seed — the Bulldogs are heading to the first semifinals in program history. In fact, Ferris State is such an underdog, it heads to Washington scoring the fewest number of goals per game (1.38) and allowing the most (0.78) among the remaining four teams.
The Bulldogs are rolling right now, though. Since allowing six goals in two games of the GLIAC tournament, the defense clamped down and allowed a mere two in the DII tournament. Keeper Darya Mosallaei set the school’s career shutout record along the way, blanking Bemidji State on the road to get to Seattle. Throw away the stats and forget about the records. The DII women’s soccer championship semifinals are made up of two regional No. 1 seeds and one no. 2 seeds. No. 6 Ferris State isn’t supposed to be here… and that might just make it the most dangerous of the bunch.
Geek-out fun stat: Over the five previous DII women’s soccer championships, at least two regional No. 1 seeds made up the semifinals every year. In 2021, 2019, and 2016, three No. 1 seeds made up the final four teams. A regional no. 1 seed has won four of the last five championships with Bridgeport (No. 2 in the East) winning in 2018. Ferris State is only the third seed lower than a No. 3 to make it to the national semifinals… and the previous two were not only shutout but blanked by a combined score of 7-0. The DII women’s championship is no place for underdogs. So, grab the popcorn, Ferris State fans. There’s history to be made.