The Western Washington University women’s soccer team defeated Peninsula College in a dominating fashion on Saturday, May 13.
The game was played in three 30-minute periods where the Vikings rolled out many different lineups throughout the entire match. The Vikings showed off their chemistry, scoring four well-orchestrated goals.
Claire Potter scored two goals, Estera Levinte scored one and Jayden Nguyen scored the final goal. The Vikings' powerful offense was too much for Peninsula College to hold off.
“I finished a couple chances, a couple other players got finished chances too,” Potter said. “It was just really great to see our defense turn into offense.”
Through the team’s fantastic through balls and consistent pressure, they were able to create multiple scoring opportunities and capitalize on many.
“We’ve been working all spring on through balls and beating the defense by playing it behind them, and I think we did a really great job of that today,” Potter said.
Potter’s two goals were scored in the first period of the game. In the eighth minute, Potter was fed by Payton Neal who picked up the assist.
Her second goal came in the 11th minute after Estera Levinte crossed the ball into the box for Potter to tap into the back of the net.
Throughout the game, the Vikings were able to dominate possession and show off their ability to handle the ball.
“We were able to, on offense, do a pretty decent job of picking and choosing when we would go forward as well as finding one on one matchups that created some isolation plays for people to take people out on the dribble and then find a teammate for an easy finish,” said Claire Morgan, assistant head coach for the Vikings.
Levinte scored a goal in the 22nd minute of the second period making the game 3-0 after she put in a tough angled shot on the near post.
In the third and final period, Nguyen buried a 28th-minute goal that would end the scoring for the Vikings.
Despite showing off their offensive talent, the team also put on a defensive clinic. They proved why the team allowed the least goals in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference last season.
With senior goalkeeper Claire Henninger currently out with a left knee injury, Abigail Trengove found herself as the starting goalkeeper in this match.
“It was good for the team to get different looks with different keepers, especially in the spring,” Trengrove said. “So that if push comes to shove in the fall, we’re able to roll with the punches.”
The defense shutout Peninsula College. Asia Hardin had multiple stops inside the box and Katie Watt was able to get the ball up to the forwards with her long passes.
“The team made it easy on me,” Trengove said. “We were able to move the ball around the back pretty easily and they handled it for me.”
This was the second straight shutout by the Vikings after winning last week's game against Seattle University 1-0.
The spring exhibition schedule is a way for the team to experiment with new lineups and different looks as they prepare for the 2023 fall season. It also was a way for the team to assess their goals for the upcoming season.
“Our goal [this spring] was to continue to find that drive and hunger, to not be complacent, to not rest on winning the National Championship,” Morgan said.
After coming off winning the Division II Women’s Soccer National Championship, it can be hard for a team to remain hungry. If you have reached the top of the mountain, what else is there to climb?
“The biggest thing is that we’re a fairly young team. The players that we had returning understood that just because we won last year doesn’t mean that there is anything guaranteed for next year,” Morgan said.
This team will have all summer to prepare for Aug. 16 when they start their first preseason exhibition game against the University of Victoria.
“I’m excited to see what they do throughout the summer to stay fit and ready to go right away in the fall,” Morgan said.
Next season will feature new recruits and incoming freshmen who did not get to play in the spring exhibition games. With the Vikings being the reigning National Champions, there will be high expectations for this team.
Zen Hill (he/him) is a sports reporter for The Front. He is studying journalism with a public relations focus with hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster. He comes from Julian, a small town in San Diego County where he grew up playing basketball, soccer, track and field and baseball.