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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Women’s soccer continues to dominate GNAC

By Andrew McClain

In sports, the box score seldom tells the whole story. However, the stats from the 2-0 women’s soccer win on Saturday, Oct. 20, clearly exhibited that the Western Oregon University Wolves were outplayed by the Vikings in almost every measurable aspect.

Defender Taylor Hallquist was one of eight seniors celebrating Senior Night at Robert S. Harrington Field.

“Just a lot of emotions tonight,” Hallquist said.

The emotions were amplified by the fact that Hallquist, who usually spends most of her time trying to keep other teams away from her goal, scored the first point of the game less than 10 minutes into the first half. That goal, which Hallquist described as potentially being her last ever on her home field, gave the Vikings a lead that they never relinquished.

Rather than go on the defensive, the Vikings kept up their attacking strategy. Possession time isn’t a statistic that gets tracked in collegiate soccer, but if it were, it would probably look as dominant as the shot attempt comparison. The Vikings had 17 shots in the game, with six being on goal, compared to the Wolves two shots for the game with none on frame.

Two Western players wearing dark blue hug each other.
Western Washington University women’s soccer player Taylor Hallquist, left, celebrates scoring a goal during a game against Western Oregon University on Oct. 20, 2018. The Vikings won the game 2-0. // Photo by Oliver Hamlin

Hallquist credited the team’s “tenacity” with the overwhelming offensive pressure that kept the ball on their opponent’s side of the field for the majority of the game.

Still, the win was in striking distance for the Wolves until freshman forward Dayana Diaz sealed the win for the Vikings with a goal in the 82nd minute assisted by junior center fielder and forward Liv Larson.

The few times the Wolves did penetrate into hometeam territory, they were repelled by a smothering defensive team effort. The Vikings’ six corner kicks compared to the Wolves’ two also show that when the Wolves managed to attack, their attempts were often interrupted, causing the ball to roll out of bounds which resulted in a change of possession.

“We pride ourselves in our defense,” Hallquist said.

Head Coach Travis Connell agreed with Hallquist’s sentiments, both on their efforts and the emotional nature of the game atmosphere.

Connell described Hallquist’s performance as “probably her best so far [this season].”

“It feels good,” Connell said of the win. “Especially on a night like tonight.”

Cody Roth, a Viking golfer and boyfriend of Hallquist, seconded that emotion.

“Great game,” Roth said. “It was a good way to end Senior Night.”

This win clinched a perfect season at home for the Vikings, who went 9-0 in games played on Harrington Field. It also improved their conference record to 8-1-1 and their overall season record to 13-2-1.

The Vikings’ next game will be away against the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks, who will enter the contest on a three game losing streak.

Kickoff is at 4 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 25 at the Northwest Nazarene University soccer field in Nampa, Idaho.



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