CCIW Women’s Soccer Tournament Preview – CCIW

NAPERVILLE – The top six teams in the final College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) women’s soccer standings will prepare for the start of the league’s annual postseason tournament with a pair of quarterfinal contests Saturday afternoon. The upcoming event is the 21st CCIW Women’s Soccer Tournament in league history.
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#1 North Central (16-2-0, 8-0-0 CCIW)
The Cardinals made history in 2023, becoming the first team to hold their eight CCIW opponents without a goal over the course of the league schedule. NCC’s 8-0-0 record also marked the first sweep of the conference slate since Wheaton in 2019. NCC will host either Millikin or Augustana in a semifinal next Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. in Naperville.
Eight NCC players were named to the All-CCIW Team on Friday afternoon, including Offensive Student-Athlete of the Year Elle Sutter, Defensive Student-Athlete of the Year Kassandra Salviola and First-Year Student-Athlete of the Year Jordan Lange. Head coach Andrew Gamarra also collected his first career CCIW Coach of the Year award.
North Central will enter the tournament with the nation’s ninth-ranked scoring offense at 4.06 goals per match, as well as the most assists in Division III in 2023 with 65.
#2 Wheaton (6-6-5, 5-1-2 CCIW)
Wheaton will be in the CCIW Tournament semifinals for the 21st time after posting a 5-1-2 mark for second place in the final conference standings. The Thunder will enter next Wednesday’s semifinal round against either Carroll or Illinois Wesleyan at Joe Bean Stadium riding a six-match unbeaten streak (4-0-2) since Oct. 7.
Morgan Beamer, Mia Blair and Audrey Sexson each earned All-CCIW First Team accolades on Friday afternoon. Sexson (five goals, three assists) and Blair (two goals, four assists) are among the CCIW scoring leaders during the league schedule. Goalkeeper Myah Schoolman averaged 5.57 saves per contest, while her full-season average of 5.69 stops per match led the CCIW.
Wheaton joins Illinois Wesleyan as the only programs in the league to have never missed a CCIW Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Thunder, who bowed out of last season’s tournament in the semifinal round, are 31-2-5 all-time in the event
#6 Illinois Wesleyan (3-12-2, 2-5-1 CCIW) at #3 Carroll (9-5-3, 4-1-3 CCIW), 1 p.m. Saturday
One of two Saturday quarterfinal bouts is scheduled for Schneider Stadium in Waukesha when Carroll hosts Illinois Wesleyan at 1 p.m. It’s rematch of last season’s semifinal in Bloomington, a match the Titans won 4-0.
Carroll earned the tournament’s third seed with a 4-1-3 CCIW record. CU boasts the conference’s second-ranked defense after limiting CCIW foes to just 0.63 goals per match, including four shutouts from goalkeeper Caitlin Fitzsimmons. Defender Jess Stepien and midfielder Grace Tumilty were chosen for the All-CCIW First Team on Friday.
Illinois Wesleyan earned a win or a draw in three of its last four CCIW matches to snag the final bid to the tournament. IWU went 2-5-1 in conference action and will be in need of a win Saturday afternoon to extend their streak of consecutive CCIW Tournament semifinal appearances to 21. The Titans defeated North Central in last season’s tournament title match to win the event for the fifth time.
Earlier this season, Brielle Ingalsbee’s 41st-minute goal lifted Carroll to a 1-0 win over Illinois Wesleyan in Waukesha. The decision marked CU’s first win in the series since 2018, ending a four-match winless streak versus IWU (0-3-1).
#5 Millikin (6-5-4, 2-2-4 CCIW) at #4 Augustana (10-4-4, 3-2-3 CCIW), 1 p.m. Saturday
Millikin will be in the CCIW Tournament for the first time since 2010 and just the third time ever when the Big Blue take the 172-mile trip to Rock Island for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Augustana. The two teams previously met in the CCIW postseason when Augie blanked MU in the 2009 semifinals, 5-0.
Augustana opened the CCIW schedule with a five-match unbeaten streak (3-0-2) before finishing with a 3-2-3 mark for fourth place. The Vikings are led by CCIW Goalkeeper of the Year Janey Castoe, who finished the eight-match CCIW slate with six shutouts and a 0.56 goals-against average. The Vikings fell in the quarterfinal round of the tournament last season in double overtime at Carroll, and will be looking to advance in the bracket for the first time since marching to the final in 2019.
At 2-2-4 in league play, Millikin punched its ticket to the CCIW postseason by winning or tying six of its final seven league matches, a stretch in which the Big Blue allowed only five goals and had five shutouts. Bailee Blecker was an All-CCIW First Team selection – one of only three forwards on the First Team – after peppering opposing defenses with 3.29 shot attempts per match, seventh-most in the league.
MU and AC played to a scoreless draw on Oct. 7 in Decatur. The Big Blue outshot Augie in that match, 14-2, and also held an advantage in shots on goal, 9-1.

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The College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) was founded in 1946 and currently services nine member institutions including Augustana College (Rock Island, Ill.), Carroll University (Waukesha, Wis.), Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.), Elmhurst University (Elmhurst, Ill.), Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, Ill.), Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.), North Central College (Naperville, Ill.), North Park University (Chicago, Ill.) and Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.). 

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Ellis Wilder

Hey there! My name is Ellis Wilder, and I'm a student at the University of Calgary. When I'm not hitting the books, you can usually find me writing articles for sports and travel blogs. I've always had a passion for exploring new places and experiencing different cultures, so I love sharing my travel stories with others. Whether I'm hiking in the Rocky Mountains or exploring a new city, I always try to capture the essence of the places I visit in my writing. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy reading my articles as much as I enjoy writing them!

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