WWU Forward Zoe Milburn, jukes the Montana State Billings goalie for her third goal of the game on Saturday, Oct. 5. The Vikings shutout Billings with a final score of 8-0 with Milburn scoring a total of 4 goals. // Photo by Alex Moreno
By Nolan Baker
It happened a mere one minute and fourteen seconds into the second half of Saturday’s game against Montana State University Billings. Freshman midfielder Estera Levinte collected a rebound off the goalkeeper and calmly buried her shot into the lower right corner of the goal.
For the Vikings, it was their first possession of the second half, and with it they tallied their third goal in ten shots. For the visiting Yellowjackets, it was a backbreaker.
Led by a four goal performance from junior forward Zoe Milburn, the Vikings rolled past MSUB 8-0. It was the second highest scoring game in Western women’s soccer history.
“I figured it out today,” Milburn said, “how to time my runs and it just worked out great, had four goals.”
Those four goals tied a Great Northwest Athletic Conference record for goals in a single game, a fact Milburn found out about shortly after being drenched by her water bottle wielding teammates.
Her third and fourth goals, assisted by seniors Tivona Tinsley and Peyton Chick, were the start of an onslaught by Western’s offense where they scored four goals in just five minutes. Junior Jenna Killman and Peyton Chick capped off the day with two more goals, sending the Yellowjackets back to Billings with their fourth loss of the season.
The No. 17 nationally-ranked Vikings now improve to a 7-2-0 record, and remain unbeaten in GNAC play. Saturday’s game marked their 13th straight win at Robert S. Harrington Field, where they have a 52-2-1 record since its opening in 2014.
“When you have people behind you, in your corner, then you’re able to go out and play to your fullest potential,” said Head Coach Travis Connell.
“It’s not just 11 players, it’s not just 30 players on the team, but it’s a whole university and a whole community that is behind us as we compete,” Connell said.
The game broke open in just the seventh minute when a shot from Jenna Killman deflected off the Yellowjackets’ goalkeeper and was blasted to the near post for Zoe Milburn’s first of four goals.
Milburn played with an unmatched ferocity. With just a few seconds remaining in an already 8-0 game, Milburn raced into the midfield and made a perfect sliding tackle on a Yellowjackets player.
The game was already decided. Milburn refused to give the opposing team space to breathe.
“You saw Zoe down here sliding on defense,” Connell said. “She’s our center forward, she scored four goals, she’s back sliding on defense with fifteen seconds left in the game. That’s how you inspire your teammates.”
It wasn’t just the Viking’s stars contributing on Saturday. Freshman Estera Levinte, who was recently moved from defense to a more attack-focused roll at midfield, came off the bench to score two goals in the 46th and 53rd minute.
“It feels great to make an impact on the team always,” Levinte said. “I think everyone made an impact, but it feels good to be a part of it.”
The Vikings are on the road for their next two games against Saint Martin’s University and Western Oregon University. They return to Harrington Field on Oct. 29 to face off against Simon Fraser University.