#SummitWSOC Weekly Notebook: Championship Preview

Denver edged North Dakota State 2-1 last season in the title game of The Summit League Championship. Those two teams will meet in the second semifinal on Thursday in Brookings.
Denver edged North Dakota State 2-1 last season in the title game of The Summit League Championship. Those two teams will meet in the second semifinal on Thursday in Brookings.
2018 #SummitWSOC Championship Central
2018 #SummitWSOC Championship Bracket

Three of the four spots for the 2018 Summit League Championship were secured going into the final week of regular season play, but the fight for seedings, the regular-season crown and the fourth and final spot in Brookings provided a lot of drama. In the end, Summit League Championship regulars South Dakota State, Denver and North Dakota State will be joined by first-time participant Omaha in Brookings next week. The host Jackrabbits will be the top seed after winning the tiebreaker with Denver after both teams shared the regular-season title with 7-1 records and 21 total points.

North Dakota State secured the No. 3 seed after finishing with a 6-2 record and 18 total points. Omaha snuck into the field after winning its regular-season finale vs. Western Illinois to finish 4-3-1 and with 13 total points. The Mavs needed a win and some help from South Dakota (4-4; 12 points) and North Dakota (3-4-1, 10 points), who went 1-1 and 0-2, respectively, in the final week to finish just behind Omaha in the league standings. 

Semifinals | Thursday, Nov. 1
(4) Omaha vs. (1) South Dakota State | 3 p.m. CT
(3) North Dakota State vs. (2) Denver | 6 p.m. CT

Final | Saturday, Nov. 3 |
Semifinal winners | 12 p.m. CT

Live Streaming
All three Summit League Championship matches from Brookings will be streamed free of charge on The Summit League's official website:
John Hiatt will provide the play-by-play, while Mekonnen Afa will serve as the color analyst.

Around The League
• South Dakota State and Denver each needed a win to secure a share of the 2018 regular-season title and both programs delivered.
• The Jacks was a little more dramatic, which has been the norm for the program of late. SDSU has played in six-consecutive, one-goal matches entering the Summit League Championship and three of those victories have come in double-overtime.
• The latest late-game dramatics came in East Grand Forks, Minn., on Friday when Darien Poelstra cleaned up a deflection off the cross bar to give the Jacks are share of the regular-season title in the final minute of the second overtime session. 
• It was the second consecutive regular season title for the Jackrabbits, who have won three of the last four league tournament titles and will play at home this week where they are 8-2 this season.
• Denver's victory was more emphatic as the Pioneers blanked Oral Roberts 3-0 on Saturday to earn a share of the regular season title for the third time in the last six seasons.
• Omaha got a pair of goals from freshman Kiana Dualan in a must-win match vs. Western Illinois on Sunday to give the Mavericks their first berth in the postseason event. 
• North Dakota entered the week in control of its own destiny for the final spot, but a pair of one-goal losses left the Fighting Hawks in sixth place when all the dust had settled with a 3-4-1 (10 points) record in what was the program's first season as a Summit League member.
• With its 1-0 win over UND in the regular-season finale, South Dakota was pulling hard for the Leathernecks to defeat or draw with Omaha on Sunday, but Dualan's 61st-minute goal was enough to punch a ticket to Brookings for head coach Tim Walters' club.
• North Dakota State locked in the No. 3 seed with a 1-0 victory over South Dakota on Friday. The Bison finished 6-2 with 18 points under the direction for first-year head coach Mike Regan.
• The Coyotes finished one point behind the Mavs (4-3-1) to finish fifth in the final league standings at 4-4 (12 points).
• Purdue Fort Wayne snapped an eight-match losing streak with its 2-1 victory over Western Illinois on Thursday. Freshman Kayla Wisniewski scored both goals for the Mastodons and finished the campaign with eight goals (already 12th most all-time in Purdue Fort Wayne history).

Noting The Qualifiers
(1) South Dakota State
• SDSU was the last No. 1 seed to win The Summit League Championship back in 2014, which also was the last time the Jackrabbits were the top seed
• The Jackrabbits owned a 3-0-1 record in overtime games this season and all three of those victories came in Summit League play
• The Jacks have made six consecutive appearances in the tournament and won three of the last four

(2) Denver Pioneers
• DU led all Summit League teams with 18 goals in conference play. 
• Freshman Samantha Feller led that charge with six tallies (tied for league-best) and her eight overall goals were tops on the team
• The Pioneers won last year's tournament from the No. 2 seed, defeating No. 4 seed and host NDSU 2-1 in the final

(3) North Dakota State Bison
• NDSU is making its 10th straight appearance at The Summit League Championship, which is the longest active streak among league members
• The Bison have made five title game appearances, including last season's in Fargo, but have not won it all since 2010
• Seven of NDSU's eight Summit League matches were decided by one goal, including the last six

(4) Omaha Mavericks
• Omaha is making its first postseason tournament appearance since joining the league in 2012. The Mavs were first eligible for a berth in 2015.
• Sophomore Bailey Cascio led the Mavs in goals with four, while classmate Andrea Daves led the team in assists with six.
• The Mavs won three of their last four matches, including a pair of shutouts by junior goalkeeper Erin Bunker.

2017 Championship Rewind
(2) Denver 1, (3) Oral Roberts 0
(4) North Dakota State 2, South Dakota State  0

(2) Denver 2, (4) North Dakota State 1

2018 Players of the Week
August 20
Offense: Katie Moller, Sr., F, North Dakota
Defense: Ryliegh Bohnenstiehl, Sr., GK, Oral Roberts

August 27
Offense: Leah Manuleleua, Jr., F, South Dakota State
Defense: Parker Rytz, Sr., GK, South Dakota

September 4
Offense: Meg Halvorson, So., MF, Denver
Defense: Olivia Swenson, Sr., GK, North Dakota

September 10
Offense: Brookelyn Dew, So., F, North Dakota State
Defense: Allyson Hayner, Sr., D, Purdue Fort Wayne
Defense: Brittany Wilson, Jr., GK, Denver

September 17
Offense: Katie Moller, Sr., F., North Dakota
Defense: Maggie Smither, Jr., GK, South Dakota

September 24
Offense: Taryn Labree, Jr., MF, South Dakota
Defense: Haley Lydon, Sr., GK, Purdue Fort Wayne

October 1
Offense: Samantha Feller, Fr., MF, Denver
Defense: Hanna Norman, Sr., D, North Dakota State

October 8
Offense: Taryn Labree, Jr., MF, South Dakota
Defense: Maggie Smither, Jr., GK, South Dakota State

October 15
Offense: Emily Romero, Sr., F., Omaha
Defense: Monica Polgar, Jr., GK, North Dakota State

October 23
Offense: Katie Moller, Sr., F, North Dakota
Defense: Annie Williams, Sr., D, South Dakota State

October 29
Offense: Kiana Dualan, Fr., F, Omaha
Defense: Parker Rytz, Sr., GK, South Dakota

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Through 36 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 115,000 at nine institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced 12 NCAA Champions along with over 100 Academic All-Americans, and nearly 125 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website