Western Washington University women’s soccer won their fifth West Regional Division II Final, outplaying Concordia University Irvine on Thursday, Nov. 17.
The Vikings led early with an unassisted goal from Morgan Manalili at only three minutes and forty-two seconds into the game.
“We got off to a great start; all credit to the effort and intensity of our team,” said Travis Connell, head coach of Western women’s soccer.
This is Manalili’s ninth score of the season, leading her team in goals scored. Manalili will face her identical twin sister who plays for the Colorado School of Mines.
The Vikings rode the momentum of their quick first-half goal, shooting twice as many attempts as Concordia. Western fired 12 shots compared to Concordia's six.
The game was no cakewalk for the Vikings. Possession of the ball switched often and quickly, and Western retained the ball for 42% of the match.
“Nothing was easy in this game. They [Concordia] made us work for every possession, every pass. The goal we scored was difficult,” Connell said.
Dayanna Diaz, Western forward and senior student-athlete, recognized her team's hard work throughout the season leading up to the playoffs.
“We've been working really hard on and off the field, trying to bond together and grinding it out during all the practices,” Diaz said.
Payton Neal, Western midfielder, who played 56 minutes in the match against Concordia, was thrilled post-game for her squad’s continuation to the National Quarterfinal.
“I'm really proud of this team,” Neal said. “I'm super excited to see when we continue on to the Elite Eight.”
Western goes into their match on Saturday as the slight underdog, with Colorado School of Mines ranking ninth nationally and the Vikings close behind at 10th.
“We're going to have to be our best because we face a Mines team that is having a great season,” Connell said post-game.
Vikings women’s soccer will have less than two days to rest before their game against Colorado School of Mines. That match can be streamed here on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m.
Jack Glenn (he/him) is a sports and recreation reporter in his second quarter at The Front. He is pursuing a news/editorial degree in journalism. In his free time, Jack enjoys reading, playing basketball and spending time with friends and family. If you have any questions or would simply like to contact him, his email is email@example.com.