BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Freshman forward Drew Farnsworth broke a scoreless tie with a goal in the 81st minute and later assisted on a goal by senior forward Anthony Dean during the final minute of the game as the Western Washington University men’s soccer team topped visiting Montana State Billings, 2-0, on Thursday night at Harrington Field in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action.
WWU (6-2-3, 5-0-1 GNAC) is unbeaten in its last nine games and remains atop the conference standings with 16 points following Thursday’s victory. The Vikings posted their third straight shutout in the win over Montana State Billings as the ‘Jackets dropped to 5-7-0 overall and 3-3-0 in conference play with the loss.
Farnsworth (Auckland, New Zealand/Westlake Boys) blasted a shot from outside the top of the 18-yard box with just under 10 minutes left in the game to give WWU the lead. After approaching the ball as it was cleared out of the box, he sent his shot through the crowded box to the lower-left corner of the net for his 3rd goal of the season.
WWU doubled its advantage during the 90th minute with just 17 seconds remaining in the game when Farnsworth sent a low cross from the right side to Dean (Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Bellevue College), who finished from 5 yards out with a sliding shot to record his 9th goal of the season. Dean is tied for the GNAC lead in goals, scoring in seven games this season.
“We had service, challenged, and Drew (Farnsworth) was there for the knock down and a good shot,” head coach Greg Brisbon said of the go-ahead goal. “The last goal, they were pushing so we were able to get it wide and get early service for Anthony (Dean) to get his 9th goal.”
The ‘Jackets held an offensive advantage during the first half, outshooting WWU 5-1 as senior goalkeeper Tyler Visten (Mount Vernon, WA/Skagit Valley College) made all 4 of his saves on the evening in the half, including a pair of saves off a free kick shot and a follow-up shot attempt in the 34th minute.
“During the first half, we were not very good and give credit to MSU Billings – they had a great game plan, lots of energy and we didn’t deal with it well,” Brisbon said. “So I thought we were lucky to be tied at halftime but the second half was a different story as the guys came out and made way better decisions and had energy. It was fun to watch at the end, it was a great performance in the second half by everyone.”
WWU’s lone shot in the first half was on target, as sophomore forward Christian Rotter (Auburn, WA/Auburn Mountainvew) had his attempt denied by a Montana State Billings defender near the goal line for a team save in the 31st minute.
The ‘Jackets held a 9-6 advantage in total shots for the game, though the Vikings held a slight edge (5-4) in shots during the second half. Montana State Billings also had 6 corner kicks while WWU was held to a season-low 1 corner kick attempt.
Montana State Billings defender Aidan Raj was issued a red card in the 86th minute as WWU played with a man advantage during the final minutes of the game.
The shutout for Visten, named GNAC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after recording consecutive shutouts last week, was the 13th his career and moved him into a tie for 3rd-most in program history. Montana State Billings goalkeeper Tom Lohmann made 2 saves for the ‘Jackets on Thursday.
WWU, 10-0-2 in its last 12 conference games dating back to last season, will host No. 16 Simon Fraser on Saturday night at 7 pm. The defending GNAC champion Clan sit just behind the Vikings with a 4-1-1 record in conference play, tied with Seattle Pacific (4-2-1 GNAC) at 13 points.
Match Notes: WWU is unbeaten in its last nine games…Vikings are 10-0-2 in last 12 GNAC games dating back to the last season…WWU has not allowed a goal in last 296:21 of play…Vikings were held to season-low totals of 6 total shots and 1 corner kick…Tyler Visten posted his 13th career shutout, ranking in a tie for 3rd-most in program history…Anthony Dean is tied for the GNAC lead with 9 goals and also leads the conference with 21 points…Drew Farnsworth totaled a goal and an assist Thursday night and has 7 points on the season (3 goals, 1 assist).
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