By Ian Haupt
The breath from Western students singing “Ole, ole ole ole!” was visible from Robert S. Harrington field as the women’s soccer team established a four-goal lead over rivals Seattle Pacific University on Thursday, Oct. 4.
The 4-0 victory pushes the No.18 Vikings ahead of the SPU Falcons in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings and into a five-game winning streak.
Both teams came into the game with the same in-conference record of 3-1. The Western women came out with a 9-2 season record and in-conference record of 4-1.
Starting with a rowdy chant in their pregame huddle, Western set the tone early on with a quick goal from senior forward Gabriela Pelogia in the second minute of the game. Head coach Travis Connell said a strong start is crucial, especially in a rivalry game.
“There’s a lot of emotion in rivalry games,” Connell said. “The start often times can be a critical part, action can happen right off the bat and we saw that today.”
The game did not slow down from there as both teams kept the pressure high defensively, resulting in an aggressive battle for the ball in midfield. Sophomore midfielder Grace Eversaul was a strong force for the Vikings in the midfield.
“It was definitely intense,” Eversaul said. “They came out fast, we came out fast but I feel like we just really pushed it and won a lot more balls.”
In the 36th minute, sophomore midfielder Darby Doyle made a fast run into the box as she cut back to her right foot for a shot. Doyle’s strike was hard but off frame, as it bounced off the right post and luckily into the feet of sophomore forward Zoe Milburn. Milburn finished the ball by placing it over the keepers head, doubling the Vikings lead 2-0 at halftime.
The Vikings came out in the second half of the game composed and in control. Their lead showed with their movement and patience on the ball, forcing Seattle Pacific University to play a fast attacking game as Western continued their high pressure defense.
With 25 total shots throughout the game to the Falcon’s five, the Vikings simply created more chances.
The Vikings lead was solidified in the 67th minute of the game when senior midfielder Mariah Roggow lasered a well-hit shot straight into the top right corner of the net from 23 yards out, assisted by Eversaul.
The icing on the cake came in the 80th minute when junior defender Peyton Chick found freshman forward Dayana Diaz as she wound up to rip a shot from 25 yards out with no chance for the Seattle Pacific University goalkeeper to answer back.
“We’re just going to keep getting better,” Connell said. “There’s still little things we can improve on but we’re definitely headed in the right direction. This was one of our best games of the year.”