Oct. 22, 2011
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Freshman forward Taylor Abrass (Mercer Island) scored her first collegiate goal and had an assist as Western Washington University broke out of a scoring slump with a 4-0 win over Northwest Nazarene University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's soccer contest Saturday afternoon at Orca Field on the Whatcom CC campus.
The Vikings, 4-1-3 at home this season, improved to 7-5-3 overall and 6-4-1 in conference play. They had been blanked in their last two games, one an overtime tie, and scored two or more goals in a contest for just the fifth time this season.
"Our whole team has been working so hard in practice and we've been scoring goals in training, so we knew it was coming," said WWU coach Travis Connell (9th year, 99-55-19), who is now just one win shy of 100 in directing the Viking women. "It feels so good to score (multiple) goals in a game."
NNU fell to 4-11-0 overall and 2-9-0 in GNAC action with its seventh straight loss following a 4-4 start.
WWU, which had a 26-9 advantage in shots, ran its unbeaten streak against the Crusaders to 17 (16-0-1) and upped its series advantage to 23-1-1. The Vikings' only loss to NNU came in 2003.
Katie Stauffer (So., Boise, ID/Capital) opened the scoring with her first goal of the season in the 18th minute, putting a shot inside the far post. The goal was the result of a poor clearance and a cross from Brian Sych (So., Vancouver/Union).
Less than 12 minutes later, Joanna Houplin (Jr., Olympia) tapped the ball in from 10 yards, Kim Cooper (Fr., Bellingham) being credited with an assist.
In the 73rd minute, Abrass got a through ball from Kelly Cates (Sr., Poulsbo/North Kitsap) at midfield and scored after a long run.
WWU goalkeeper Jamie Arthurs (Jr., Brush Prairie/Hockinson) made four saves in registering her eighth shutout of the season.
WWU travels to Saint Martin's on Thursday (3:15 p.m.) for a GNAC counter.
Western Washington vs. Northwest Nazarene Date: 10/22/11 Attendance: 210 Goals by Period 1 2 Total Northwest Nazarene 0 0 --- 0 Western Washington 2 2 --- 4 SCORING SUMMARY: WWU - Stauffer (Sych), 17:27 WWU - Houplin (Cooper), 29:13 WWU - Abrass (Cates), 72:03 WWU - Chapin (Abrass, Jones), 89:24 Shots: Western Washington 26, Northwest Nazarene 9 Corner kicks: Western Washington 8, Northwest Nazarene 2 Fouls: Western Washington 11, Northwest Nazarene 10 Saves: Western Washington 4 (Arthurs 4), Northwest Nazarene 6 (Ray 6)
Western scores in bunches, beats Crusaders
ANDREW LANG / THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
BELLINGHAM - The Western Washington University women's soccer team has struggled to produce goals of late, but Western coach Travis Connell knew a scoring barrage was coming soon.
And Connell's premonition came true Saturday, Oct. 22, as the Vikings' offense showcased its true capability in a 4-0 Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory over Northwest Nazarene University, at Orca Field on the campus of Whatcom Community College.
"It's fantastic to get the win," Connell said. "A lot of different girls scored, and they've been working so hard. I knew it was coming. A couple of girls even scored their first goals."
Entering Saturday's match, the Vikings (7-5-3, 6-4-1 GNAC) were averaging 1.07 goals per game, and scored just two goals in their past four games.
But two quick goals in the match's first 30 minutes helped the Vikings forget about their recent scoring woes.
After placing several shots on frame in the first 15 minutes, Western midfielder Brina Sych crossed a ball through Northwest Nazarene's scoring box from right to left. The ball found the foot of Viking midfielder Katie Stauffer, who struck a shot into the bottom right side of the net to give Western a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
The goal was Stauffer's first of the season.
Twelve minutes later, Western freshman and former Bellingham High School graduate Kim Cooper played a through ball to Viking midfielder Joana Houplin on the left side of the pitch, 15 yards out from Northwest Nazarene's goal. A Crusaders' defender tried to block Houplin from reaching the ball in an attempt to allow Northwest Nazarene goalkeeper Monique Ray a chance get a foot on the ball before Houplin could. As Ray was charging, Houplin managed to poke the ball past her defender, past Ray and into the back of the net to give the Vikings a 2-0 advantage in the 29th minute.
After the goal, Northwest Nazarene pulled Ray and replaced her with backup goalkeeper Erika Kristensen.
"I felt like the two (early) goals picked our team up and gave us a lot of confidence," Western forward Taylor Abrass said. "It was nice to catch up on some goals for the year."
After allowing just one shot on goal in the first half, the Vikings' defense presented Northwest Nazarene with a handful of decent looks early in the second half, but Western goalkeeper Jamie Arthurs, who earned her eight shutout of the season, prevented Northwest Nazarene from cutting into Western's lead.
Then in the 72nd minute, Abrass sealed the win for Western, recording her first career goal as a Viking.
Midfielder Kelly Crates played a nice ball from left to right into a sprinting Abrass, who beat her defender for the ball. Abrass made a quick move to the left past Kristensen and ripped a shot into the back of the net from 20 yards out to give Western a commanding 3-0 lead.
"I'm really glad that I was able to score," Abrass said. "I've been having trouble staying composed when I get a ball and have been panicking then shooting real quick. I was glad I was able to help out my team and finally break my scoring curse."
Abrass helped her team again in the final minute of the match, as she struck a nice cross into teammate Megan Chapin, who was on the right side of the pitch. Chapin tapped in a shot from 10 yards to give Western its final goal.
Once again, the Vikings' defense played a strong 90 minutes. Connell praised senior defender Alicia Patten for her ability to provide the Western with needed versatility.
"Alicia had to play out of position for us tonight, and I thought she had a great game," Connell said. (Patten) makes sacrifices all the time for the team."
Western's next game is against Saint Martin's University 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at Saint Martin's.
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