WWU loses penalty shootout to SPU in GNAC Championship game

Catherine Miles

Nov. 9, 2013

Box Score

SEATTLE, Wash. - Western Washington University scored in the dying seconds of the second half to force overtime, but fell in a penalty kick shootout to Seattle Pacific University, 1-1 (4-1), on Saturday in the championship game of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Tournament at the Starfire Sports Complex.

The result is officially recorded as a tie, putting WWU, ranked No.10 nationally in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NCAA Division II Top 25, at 17-1-1. The Vikings won the GNAC regular-season title with 13-1-0 record.

SPU, which fell to WWU twice during the regular season, is now 14-5-1. The shootout triumph gives the Falcons an automatic berth in the NCAA II National Tournament, which begins Thursday. The full tournament field will be announced Monday at 4:30 p.m.

The Vikings, who are No.2 in the West Region rankings, are still likely to host a sub-regional of the national tournament.

SPU seemed to have won the game in regulation with their first shot on target of the game as Hannah Huesers scored from 10 yards out with 2:51 left in the second half, but the Vikings were able to equalize with just 10 seconds remaining.

Catherine Miles (So., Anacortes) scored the goal, tapping the ball in through a mad goalmouth scramble off an Ashton Griffen (Sr., Duvall/Cedarcrest) corner kick.

The goal was Miles' 14th of the season and the assist was Griffen's 11th, one short of the WWU record. Both figures lead the GNAC.

After two 10-minute overtimes, the contest went to penalty kicks, and SPU goalkeeper Natalie Harold made the difference with two spectacular saves, first diving to her left to stop Kim Cooper (Jr., Bellingham), then diving to her right to stop Miles. The Falcons eventually sealed the triumph as Arden Matro converted the fourth SPU attempt.

"Natalie Harold was fantastic in the overtime shootout," said WWU coach Travis Connell. "We have to give her credit for that. For a senior to come up big in a championship game is something very special."

For the game, the Vikings had a 12-5 advantage in shot attempts, including an 8-2 margin in the second half.

"We played well enough to win, we just left some goals on the field today," Connell said. "We left SPU in the game too long, and when you do that against a good team, they're going to get you."

After a tightly played opening half in which each side attempted just two shots, WWU had the better of the early portion of the second half.

The Vikings' best opportunity coming in the 63rd minute, when Delanee Nilles (So., Poulsbo/North Kitsap) hit the right post and had the ball bound back across goalmouth, only to have Harold pounce on it.

SPU also had a near miss in the second half, as Emma Holm hit the crossbar in the 72nd minute.

The Vikings had defeated SPU, 2-1, at Bellingham on Oct. 3, and again 2-1, at Seattle, on Oct. 12.

Sat., Nov. 9, 2013
Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, WA

Seattle Pacific 1, Western Washington 1 (2OT); SPU wins penalty kick shootout, 4-1

Scoring - 1. SPU, Hannah Huesers, 87:09; 2. WWU, Catherine Miles (Ashton Griffen), 89:50.

Shots - WWU 12, SPU 5 Saves - WWU 1 (Alyssa Beauchamp 1), SPU 7 (Natalie Harold 7) Corner kicks - WWU 8, SPU 4 Fouls - WWU 11, SPU 9

Attendance: 500


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