After starting the season undefeated through their first five games, Western Washington University women’s soccer rematched against fierce rival Seattle Pacific University on the road in the rainy city.
The Vikings had played against the Nighthawks previously this season, a 4-4 draw on April 24, with a goal in the final seconds by freshman forward Zola Carbone.
Both teams entered the game on May 15 without a loss this season, and neither team wanted to be the ones to drop points.
The pressure was on all the players to continue their great run of performances, but for sophomore defender Katie Watt, the pressure was on her as she returned to her hometown.
“Whenever I go back there, all my friends and family come out and watch, so it kind of puts a little bit more pressure on me,” said Watt.
Despite feeling the pressure, the game started off well for the Vikings, earning a corner in the eighth minute of the match.
Moments later, senior midfielder Darby Doyle got a chance to open the game, but her shot just missed the target.
In the 15th minute, senior midfielder Grace Eversaul got in behind the defense and got a shot on target that was saved by Seattle Pacific junior goalkeeper Riley Travis.
The pressure from the Vikings would pay off in the 27th minute, when Eversaul found herself with another chance to score, this time she put it into the net.
Seattle Pacific tried to rally before the half ended, firing off three shots in the span of eight minutes, however none threatened senior goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx.
The Vikings went into halftime leading 1-0 over the Nighthawks.
Seattle Pacific came out of the gates swinging to start the second half, taking four shots and earning three corners in the first 10 minutes of the half.
The Nighthawks got their equalizer off of the third corner, with the ball hitting the back of the net courtesy of junior defender Mariah Alexander, tying the game at 1-1.
Western got close to retaking the lead, when a combination of shots from the sophomore duo of midfielder Mackenzie Burks and forward Estera Levinte nearly hit the net.
The Vikings momentum came to a screeching halt when the Nighthawks’ senior midfielder Claire Neder scored following a great team combination play.
Things continued to spiral downward for the Vikings, when the Nighthawks extended their lead to 3-1 in the 80th minute with a goal from senior forward Sophia Chilczuk.
Minutes after the third goal, Western sophomore goalkeeper Claire Henninger got caught out, and was forced to concede a penalty, earning a yellow card in the process.
The Nighthawks converted the penalty in the 85th minute through Neder, putting the game out of reach for the Vikings.
The game finished 4-1 for Seattle Pacific, giving Western their first loss of the season.
Vikings goalkeeper Diereckx said that the team is going to take this loss as something to learn from, and come back ready for the next game.
“It's learning to not dwell on it,” Diereckx said. “We came to practice the next day and we were ready to get better.”
Doyle was on the same page as Diereckx.
“I think it’s a really good learning opportunity for us,” Doyle said. “We needed that wake up call to realize we need to play more as a team.”
The Vikings will host in-state rival Central Washington University on Saturday, May 22 at 4 p.m., in their final game of the season. There will be no fans allowed in attendance, but the game will be live streamed through the WWU Vikings YouTube channel. All games this season are made available to stream.