Senior forward and midfielder Catherine Miles led Western women’s soccer team to a 4-0 win over Northwest Nazarene University, clinching the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season championship at home on Thursday, Oct. 29.
“We were patient and able to move the ball well, so that helped a lot,” head coach Travis Connell said.
For the entire first half, the Vikings controlled the ball with sharp passing and plenty of shots on goal.
Senior midfielder Savanna Moorehouse scored off an assist by junior forward and midfielder Caitlyn Jobanek with 40 minutes to play.
“Our passing [worked well tonight] — we connected to balls, and finished,” sophomore defender Sierra Shugarts said. “It was nice to finish early.”
With 17 minutes left in the first half, freshman forward Gabriela Pelogi provided a perfect cross for Miles to drive into the back of the net.
The Vikings led 2-0 going into halftime.
“We have really good players and they motivate themselves,” Connell said. “No matter who they are playing, what the score is, they play with heart.”
Seven minutes into the second half, senior forward and midfielder Stephanie Hamilton passed the ball into the middle of the box where Pelogi drove it in the net, right passed the goalkeeper.
Miles scored a second goal off an assist by sophomore midfielder Colleen Lindsay with 14 minutes left to play in the game.
The Vikings have outscored its opponents 73-8 with 11 shutouts overall. Its success comes from a strong defense and senior goalkeeper Ashley Haden’s 43 saves.
The Vikings offensive success has come from Miles who leads the team with nine goals and Pelogi with eight goals.
Western’s winning streak is now 14 games, giving them a GNAC record of 11-0-0. This is the longest victory string for Western soccer since 1984.
“I would say our chemistry [makes us successful],” Shugarts said. “Even last year we were good, but we never had that group effort, so I think it is our chemistry that really helps us.”
For the second consecutive week, Western was ranked No. 2 in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America NCAA Division II poll.
“[For Saturday we need to work on] our consistency and playing at this high of a level at Concordia,” Shugarts said.
The Vikings hope to continue its winning streak against Concordia University, that is 8-2-1 in GNAC play and ranked second under Western. The Vikings face off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, in Portland, Oregon.
“We’re excited. We have an opportunity to be undefeated in our conference schedule,” Connell said. “That’s really hard to do with a difficult conference like this, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”