BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The top-ranked Western Washington University women's soccer team opened Great Northwest Athletic Conference play with a dominating 7-0 victory over Western Oregon Saturday afternoon in front of 423 fans at Harrington Field.
WWU junior forward Karli White (North Bend, WA/Mount Si/Seattle U.), sophomore forward Liv Larson (Arlington, WA) and freshman midfielder Grace Eversaul (Vancouver, WA/Skyview) each scored a pair of goals, and junior forward Gabriela Pelogi (Federal Way, WA) added her team-leading sixth goal of the season to keep the Vikings undefeated at 5-0-0 on the season and improve to 1-0-0 in GNAC play.
The victory also extended WWU's winning streak to 29 consecutive games, 4th-longest in NCAA Division II history, and the consecutive games unbeaten streak to 30 straight (8th-longest in NCAA II history). The Vikings also won their 26th consecutive home game (12th-longest streak in DII history) while improving to 34-1-1 all-time at Harrington Field.
"We came out ready to play and were excited to play at home in front of a great crowd," said head coach Travis Connell. "We really executed our passing and showed great shape in our attack."
White recorded two goals and also had a pair of assists to finish with six points in the game. The Seattle U. transfer now has 4 goals and 4 assists in five games this season.
The defending NCAA Division II national champions got off to a quick start scoring six goals in the first 30 minutes of the game, and jumped out to the early lead with Eversaul putting the Vikings up 1-0 in the 9th minute (8:11) tapping in her second goal of the season off a pass from White.
The goal-scoring clinic continued with four more goals over a 10-minute span to grow the lead to 5-0, with White (11', 17'), Larson (16') and Eversaul (20') all putting the ball into the back of the net.
Larson added her second goal of the game in the 28th minute on a header goal off a cross from senior midfielder Emily Webster (Bellingham, WA/Sehome). The assist was the 20th of Webster's career, tied for 5th-most in program history.
Pelogi netted the Vikings lone goal in the second half, taking a perfect feed from freshman Zoe Milburn (Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma) for her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Senior goalkeeper Ashley Homer (Puyallup, WA) earned the win in net registering the clean sheet in the first half, and sophomore Hillary O'Connor (Los Angeles, CA/The Archer School) closed out the victory with one save in a scoreless second half.
"We got a lot of great contributions today, from basically every player that suited up," added Connell. "It shows our depth and just how determined this team is. It was great to see Sierra (Shugarts) and Zoe (Milburn) out there for the first time this season (due to injuries)."
Shugarts (Federal Way, WA/Decatur) saw her first action of the season coming off the bench to log 31 minutes. The 2016 GNAC Player of the Year and NCAA Division II National Player of the Year was held out of the first four games of the season due to a foot injury.
The Vikings out-shot the Wolves 42-4, including a 19-1 edge in shots on goal, and fell one shot of the school record 43 set vs. Trinity Lutheran in 2015. The shutout was Western's third consecutive, out-scoring the opponent 9-0 over the stretch.
WWU returns to action next week with a pair of GNAC games, hosting Simon Fraser on Thursday (Sept. 21) at 7 pm and then travels to face Saint Martin's on Saturday (Sept. 23) at 1 pm.
Match Notes: WWU's winning streak of 29 consecutive games is 4th-longest in NCAA II history and closing in on the school record of 38 straight from 1982-84 (played in NAIA at time)...winning streak dates back to Sept. 4, 2016 (win over Academy of Art) and undefeated streak (30 consecutive games) goes back to Sept. 1, 2016 (tie at Sonoma State)...the Vikings are unbeaten in their last 54 matches (48-0-6) vs. GNAC opponents (regular + postseason), tied for the 4th-longest streak in NCAA Division II history...Emily Webster recorded an assist for the second consecutive games, giving her 20 for her career, tied for 5th-most in WWU history...Gabriele Pelogi scored her 6th goal of the season to move into a tie for 11th place in the WWU record books with 27 career goals...now has 69 career points (15 this season) to 12th in program history...true freshman Zoe Milburn and redshirt freshman Avery Barbera both saw the first official minutes of their collegiate career...WWU is 86-5-7 over the last five seasons (since 2013), the best combined record among all NCAA Division II programs.
⚽ Eversaul (9') - White assist
⚽ White (11') - Laurila assist
⚽ Larson (16') - Pelogi, White assist
⚽ White (17') - Larson assist
⚽ Eversaul (20') - Hallquist assist
⚽ Larson (28') - Webster assist
⚽ Pelogi (58') - Milburn assist
Mia Powers Joins WWU Women's Soccer Program
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WWU Women's Soccer Signs Oak Harbor Standout Etherington
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Webster and Shugarts Named Scholar All-Americans
WWU seniors Emily Webster and Sierra Shugarts add Scholar All-America awards to impressive career resumes
Trio of Vikings Named D2CCA All-Americans
Emily Webster, Sierra Shugarts and Gabriela Pelogi each honored by D2CCA
Gabriela Pelogi Named Third Team All-American
Pelogi becomes the 10th player in WWU history to earn All-America honors from the national soccer coaches association
Four Vikings Named United Soccer Coaches All-West Region
Emily Webster, Karli White and Gabriela Pelogi earn first-team honors, Sierra Shugarts a second-team selection
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WWU coaching staff recognized by United Soccer Coaches as West Region Staff of the Year
Five Vikings Earn D2CCA All-West Region Honors
Vikings place four players on First Team, one player on Second Team
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Defending National Champions Set for NCAA Championships
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WWU will host the first and second rounds, facing Cal Baptist or Sonoma State on Saturday at 1 pm in Bellingham