BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Sophomore forward Christian Rotter and junior defender Stephen Jinneman each scored in the second half as the Western Washington University men's soccer team posted its fourth consecutive victory with a 2-0 win over visiting Seattle Pacific in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action on Thursday night at Harrington Field.
The Vikings (5-2-2, 4-0-0 GNAC) scored in the 49th and 65th minutes, extending their unbeaten streak to seven games while recording their first shutout of the year in completing a sweep of the regular season series against the Falcons (6-3-1, 2-2-1). WWU is atop the conference standings through four games with 12 points as the lone conference school without a loss in league play.
Rotter (Auburn, WA/Auburn Mountainview) broke the 0-0 tie in the 49th minute, taking a lead pass from junior forward Jose Castillo (Bellevue, WA/Interlake) and dribbling down the left side of the field before firing a low shot from a tough angle to the far post for his second goal of the season. Castillo recorded his second assist of the season on the play.
In the 65th minute, senior midfielder Luke Olney (Enumclaw, WA) sent a free kick from the right side into the 18-yard box that Jinneman (Redmond, WA) headed off the right post and into the goal. It was the first assist of the year for Olney and the third goal of the season for Jinneman, who has a goal in each of his last three games and has tallied at least 1 point in four straight contests.
In addition to his assist, Olney nearly had a goal of his own when he fired a shot from the top of the 18-yard box off the left post in the 32nd minute. He came close again in the 48th minute by blasting a shot from well outside the 18-yard box that was saved by Seattle Pacific goalkeeper Kary Whitney. Whitney dove to stop the shot and then immediately dove again to clear the ball off the goal line after the initial shot was blocked and slowed by his dive, but still nearly went into the goal.
The Falcons also came close to scoring with shots off the goal frame, with forward Gabe Kellum firing a shot off the post in the 63rd minute before a follow-up shot from the rebound was sent high. In the 78th minute, a free kick from midfielder Trevor Lee was saved by a diving Tyler Visten (Sr. GK, Mount Vernon, WA) who got a hand on the shot to deflect it up off the crossbar and out of play.
"A great game, I thought everyone played well," head coach Greg Brisbon said. "Different people at different key parts of the game -- Visten had a key save, Rotter's goal was fantastic, a number of things. (Marcus) Tinsley I thought was very solid tonight and the result is a 2-0 win."
Visten made 5 saves in the game, including 3 during the first half, for his second-highest save total of the season. It was the 11th career shutout for Visten, which ranks 5th-best in program history. Whitney totaled 4 saves for Seattle Pacific.
"We finally got a shutout," Brisbon said. "That was good, Visten made a huge save and the win is important for us getting those three points."
WWU held an edge in total shots (13-9) and shots on goal (6-5). The Falcons had 3 corner kicks while the Vikings had 2 corner kick chances.
Saturday's victory extended WWU's unbeaten streak against SPU to four games at 2-0-2 after the program's tied in both matchups last year and WWU won the first meeting between the teams in 2017 with a 3-2 (OT) victory on a golden goal from Jinneman on Sept. 23 in Seattle. Saturday's win was the first WWU shutout against SPU since Nov. 6, 2010 and marked the first time WWU had topped SPU twice in the same year (according to WWU records).
The Vikings, who have not lost since the second game of the season, will take their seven-game unbeaten streak and four-game win streak into Saturday's home game against Northwest Nazarene.
"We're two overtime losses away from being undefeated, so we're starting to click and getting better every practice and game so hopefully we can keep it up," Brisbon said.
The Vikings host Northwest Nazarene at 7 pm on Saturday. WWU remains at home next week, facing Montana State Billings on Thursday (Oct. 12, 7 pm) and No. 22 Simon Fraser (Oct. 14, 7 pm).
Match Notes: WWU is unbeaten in its last seven games...Vikings recorded first shutout of season while handing Seattle Pacific its first shutout of the year...current four-game unbeaten streak vs. SPU (2-0-2), matching longest undefeated streak vs. Falcons since 2001-2002...defeated SPU twice in the same year for first time in school history (according to WWU records)...first shutout vs. SPU since 2-0 win on 11/6/10 in Bellingham...Vikings are unbeaten in GNAC play at 4-0-0 and on a four-game win streak...Anthony Dean did not have a goal or assist Thursday but had a goal or assist in each of the last 8 games before Thursday...Stephen Jinneman extended his streak of recording a goal or assist to four games...2 of Jinneman's 3 goals have come against Seattle Pacific, both headers, with the first goal a golden goal header as WWU won 3-2 in overtime at SPU on Sept. 23 in the first meeting of the season between the schools...Tyler Visten posted his 11th career shutout, ranking 5th-best in program history.
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