PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Western Washington University men's soccer team scored four goals in the first half and remained unbeaten in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action with a 4-2 win over Concordia University on Saturday evening at Tuominen Yard.
With the win, the Vikings improved to 4-2-2 overall and 3-0-0 in GNAC play while extending their unbeaten streak to six games as the only team without a tie or loss in conference play.
Concordia, coming off a 3-2 victory at home over No. 2 Simon Fraser on Thursday, dropped to 2-5-1 overall and 1-2-0 in conference play with the loss.
Senior forward Anthony Dean (Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Bellevue College) scored twice while junior midfielder Garrett Strawn (Sammamish, WA/Skyline) scored his first career goal and added 2 assists to help lead the WWU offense.
Strawn put the Vikings up 1-0 in the 11th minute with an unassisted goal. A loose ball deflected out to him at the top of the 18-yard box and he blasted a shot high over the diving Concordia goalkeeper to give WWU a lead.
Dean upped the advantage to 2-0 during the 25th minute, taking a through-ball pass from Strawn and slotting his shot from 8 yards away to the lower-left corner of the net. The goal extended Dean's streak of recording a goal or an assist in each of WWU's eight games during the 2017 season.
The Vikings grabbed a 3-0 lead in the 44th minute as Dean took a pass from Strawn and drilled a shot from 25 yards out to the upper-right corner of the net. The goal marked Dean's second two-goal game of the season and fourth multi-goal game of his career.
Less than a minute after Dean's second goal, junior defender Stephen Jinneman (Redmond, WA) scored in the 45th minute, netting a goal for a second consecutive game following his golden goal header at Seattle Pacific last Saturday. He sent a low shot from the left side of the 18-yard box that deflected off the Concordia defense and into the net.
"That was one of the best halves as a program that we've played in a really long time," head coach Greg Brisbon said. "Super sharp at every area, and some great goals as well. It's not fair to name one guy because everyone that was on the field played fantastic that first half."
The Cavaliers scored twice in the final 10 minutes of the game to cut the deficit in half on a pair of penalty kicks. Midfielder Michael Hatch converted both penalty kicks for Concordia with the first goal coming in the 82nd minute and the second goal happening in the 84th minute.
WWU played a man down from the 60th minute onward when senior defender Colton Ronk (Renton, WA/Liberty/Highline CC) was given a red card.
"What I thought was great about tonight was that our team had to deal with some external adversity and they did a great job doing it," Brisbon said. "I'm not mad at anybody about the penalties or the red card. It was challenging playing a man down and dealing with those things but the guys stayed composed and did the best they could and worked as hard as they could to get the win, because that's really what it's all about."
Concordia held a 19-16 edge in total shots, with WWU putting 7 shots on frame during their highest scoring output of the season while the Cavaliers put 6 shots on target. Each team had 4 corner kick opportunities.
Senior goalkeeper Tyler Visten (Mount Vernon, WA/Skagit Valley College) made 4 saves for WWU and Concordia goalkeeper Benoit Bouillant totaled 2 saves, including a save off a header by Jinneman that deflected off the crossbar early in the second half. The Cavaliers defense was also credited with a team save in the 56th minute as the Vikings came close to further increasing their lead during the early portion of the second half.
The Vikings are tied with Montana State Billings (3-1-1 GNAC) atop the conference standings following the first two weeks of the conference season. WWU returns home for its next four games, beginning with a match against rival Seattle Pacific next Thursday night (Oct. 5) at 7:30 pm.
"I think we're playing well, I think everyone is excited and happy that we've started out so well," Brisbon said of the start to the conference schedule. "A good start and we've got four home games in a row so we hopefully can build on that but we know our rival game on Thursday is going to be super difficult, we never look past that, and Northwest Nazarene is going to be tough. Like I said before every game is hard in the conference -- thankfully we're at home for the next four and hopefully we do well at home."
Thursday's home game against Seattle Pacific will be part of a Harrington Field doubleheader and will take place after the top-ranked WWU women's soccer team hosts Seattle Pacific at 5 pm. WWU hosts Northwest Nazarene on Saturday night at 7 pm before Montana State Billings (Oct. 12) and No. 2 Simon Fraser (Oct. 14) come to Bellingham the following week.
Match Notes: WWU is unbeaten in its last six games...the four goals scored by WWU was the highest scoring output of the season and most goals in a game for the program since the last time the Vikings played at Concordia and won 5-1 on Nov. 5, 2016...the Vikings earned their third consecutive win against Concordia in the series history between the teams...Anthony Dean has at least 1 goal or 1 assist in every game this season (8 games) and leads the GNAC with 8 goals and 19 total points...has 16 career goals and tied his goal total from 2016 with Saturday's effort...has four career multi-goal games, including two in 2017...Garrett Strawn had a goal and 2 assists on Saturday, scoring his first career goal and recording an assist for the second consecutive game...Stephen Jinneman netted his third career goal and has scored in consecutive games...has a goal or assist in three consecutive games.
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