By Zach Slagle
In a rematch of last year’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship, the Vikings attained their seventh shutout this season. They remain undefeated with a 10-0 over record, 5-0 against the GNAC conference. The Vikings increased their consecutive home winning streak to 28 games, having only lost one game since Harrington field’s inception in 2014 (35-1-1).
Meeting in four of the past five GNAC championships, the Falcons and Vikings are no strangers to one another. The anticipated rematch of the top two teams in the conference lived up to the hype as a crowd of over 400 packed the bleachers. The Falcon’s have yet to achieve victory over the Viking’s in their previous six games, and Thursday was no exception.
Despite the shutout, head coach Travis Connell said the team has much to work on looking ahead.
“Our transition time was slow today… we got to continue to get faster transitioning onto defense,” Connell said “How many times could we have gotten rebounds but weren’t there. Those little details are what add up to goals and we got to be more disciplined there.”
Both teams played aggressive committing a combined 20 fouls during the game. Falcon’s fans didn’t have much to cheer for, however, as the Viking’s defense was in full effect only allowing one shot on goal. With exceptional defensive effort from sophomore Emily Nelson and defending defensive MVP of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Championship, senior Sierra Shugarts. Game to game the defense has been the calling card for the Vikings, only allowing a GNAC best .20 goals per contest.
Junior transfer Karli White and others continued to assert pressure on the opposition’s goalkeeper with 26 shots. Senior forward Gabriela Pelogi scored the sole goal of Thursday’s game in the first period off a header of a corner kick from midfielder Emily Webster bringing her season total to 10. She leads the GNAC with an average of seven shots per game.
“I think I’m a threat to other teams. That makes me come out even harder, even more pumped,” Pelogi said.
The Viking’s are currently ranked #3 in NCAA Division II, despite winning nationals last year and being unbeaten in 35 games. Their latest win brings their record to 34-0-1 since the start of last season. This year they have a chance to break Western’s 38 game winning streak set by the women’s soccer team in 1984.
The Vikings host Saint Martin’s at 5 p.m. Oct. 10 as they pursue history.