DENVER, Colo. – The top-ranked Western Washington University women’s soccer team made a late first-half goal stand up and held off a second-half surge by MSU Denver to record a 1-0 non-conference victory Sunday afternoon at The Regency Athletic Complex.
The Vikings improved to 3-0-0 on the season and extended their winning streak to 27 consecutive games, tied for the 4th-longest streak in NCAA Division II history. The defending NCAA II national champions also extended its undefeated streak to 28 consecutive games, tied for 9th-longest in NCAA II history. Metro State, a two-time NCAA Division II national champion in 2004 and 2006, falls to 1-3-0 on the season, dropping its third consecutive game decided by one goal.
“We didn’t play our best game today, but these are tough situations playing on the road, in hot conditions with some elevation,” said head coach Travis Connell. “We played against a team that was really motivated on their home field and we found a way to grind out the victory. I am excited for our team to gain this win as they battled to the very last second and that is something you have to learn if you are a championship team.”
The Vikings dominated possession in the first half, but couldn’t cash in on several early opportunities. The Vikings had 11 shots (3 on goal) through the first 44 minutes of the half, and then struck with the go-ahead goal with 20-seconds left before halftime. Sophomore defender Lindsey Fujiwara (Sammamish, WA/Skyline) delivered a high-arching cross from the left side that freshman forward Sophie Butterfield (Bellevue, WA) drove home on a header to the far post.
WWU’s first of many scoring opportunities in the first half came in the 13th minute when junior forward Karli White (North Bend, WA/Mount Si/Seattle U.) dribbled past a defender in the box and had her flick shot bounce off the crossbar.
“We want to be the best at the end of each half and we were in the first half,” said Connell. “We showed our depth and got quality minutes from everyone, especially late in the first half.”
The second half was a battle from the start, with both teams feeling the effects of the temperatures in the high 80s. WWU’s defense held off the Roadrunners with minimal scoring chances through the first 40 minutes of the second half. But Metro State had two good chances late in the game, first when senior goalkeeper Ashley Homer (Puyallup, WA) made a diving save on a shot by Regina Banks in the 86th minute.
In the waning seconds of the game Elise Boisnard got behind the Viking defense and took a shot that was blocked by Homer. The deflection found a MSUD forward, who followed it up with a shot, but time expired before she got the shot off (that found the back of the net).
Homer recorded her first clean sheet of the season and 15th as a Viking (31st of collegiate career counting season at Saint Rose). The senior made 3 saves and was active on the defensive line.
“Ashley Homer had a great game today,” said Connell. “We asked a lot of her and she was very active directing and passing. And she made some massive saves for us.”
MSU Denver goalkeeper Erica Torres made 7 saves for the Roadrunners.
WWU returns to action Wednesday remaining in Colorado to face Colorado State Pueblo at 12 pm MT/11 am PT. The Vikings return to Bellingham for Saturday’s home and GNAC opener against Western Oregon at 4 pm at Harrington Field.
The men’s and women’s squad will team up for a doubleheader on Saturday (Sept. 16), with the men hosting Fort Hays State at 7 pm. Admission for the games is 2-for-1, with t-shirt and poster giveaways for both games.
Match Notes: Due to the hot conditions on the turf field, water breaks were taken in the first half (1) and second half (2)…WWU used 17 players in the match…Sophie Butterfield scored her first career goal…Lindsey Fujiwara recorded her 2nd assist of the season and 4th of her career…the shutout was WWU’s first of the season (recorded 17 last season)…WWU improved to 2-1-1 all-time vs. MSU Denver (formerly known as Metro State).
⚽ Sophie Butterfield (45’) – Fujiwara assist
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