The Western women’s soccer team was shutout by Washington State University during their spring exhibition game, marking their first loss since August 2016.
The 2016 NCAA Division II Champions faced WSU, a Division I school, on Sunday, April 2 in the second of seven games scheduled for the women in the spring season. WSU scored three times on the Vikings, all of which were set piece goals – a goal made after a corner kick, free kick or a throw in.
This season allows for the team to play against more competitive schools they would usually not face during the regular fall season.
“We are looking for an opportunity to play against some of the best teams in the region,” assistant coach Claire Morgan said. “We don’t get to see athletes like this on a regular basis.”
The team will play other high-performing and Division I teams such as Trinity Western, the University of Montana, Highline Community College, the University of Idaho and the University of Washington in the coming weeks.
Upper division teams provide a greater challenge for the Division II champions who were undefeated since their loss to Trinity Western in August 2016. These other teams perform at a higher level than all the Division II teams the Vikings defeated during the 2016 fall season.
“They’re strong, fast and technical. It’s really good for us,” midfielder Emily Webster said. “We don’t see as much of that talent when we play in the league.”
Webster said they are forced to be more aware of their surroundings on the field and to think fast in the already fast-paced game.
“It’s never easy losing. It’s really just character building for us. We’ll take it in stride and try to do better next time.”
Emily Webster, midfielder
“It just allows us to practice what we are ultimately trying to get better at,” Morgan said.
After their first loss in eight months the Vikings will continue to practice and learn from the offseason.
“It’s never easy losing,” Webster said. “It’s really just character building for us. We’ll take it in stride and try to do better next time.”
Ultimately, the team hopes to use this game to continue to grow as they prepare to face future opponents in the spring season, Webster said.
After the spring season the Vikings will return to playing schools in the same division for the fall season.