Forward Kristin Maris scored a goal and assisted on another as Western Washington University picked up its sixth shutout in seven games this season with a 3-0 victory over Saint Martin's University on Saturday, Sept. 28, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's soccer contest at Orca Field on the Whatcom Community College campus.
The Vikings, ranked No. 2 nationally in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, improved to 7-0-0 overall and 4-0-0 in conference play.
Playing the first half with a stiff wind at their backs, the Vikings did not allow a shot attempt on the way to taking a 2-0 halftime lead. Catherine Miles opened the scoring in the fourth minute with her team-leading fifth goal of the season, finding herself alone just outside the penalty area after a pass from Maris and then hitting a clever chip just under the crossbar.
Delaney Nilles got the second goal in the 24th minute. After a corner kick, the ball popped out of a goalmouth scramble, and Nilles, standing still, placed a looping header into the left side of the net from 12 yards.
"Catherine got us off to a great start with that wonder goal," said WWU coach Travis Connell. "And we kept right at them after that, both with the goal and our overall play. It's something we've been working on in training and we executed it today."
Maris then added insurance against the wind less than three minutes into the second half, finishing off a low cross from Elise Aylward for her fourth goal of the year.
The Vikings had a 17-5 advantage in shot attempts, with an 8-0 margin with the wind in the first half and a 9-5 edge against it in the second.
"We faced a different challenge today with the weather and the wind," Connell said. "We did a good job with that."
The victory was the fifth straight in the series for the Vikings, who hold a 10-2-1 advantage.
Goalkeepers Alyssa Beauchamp and Ashley Haden combined for three saves as WWU notched its sixth shutout in seven matches.
The only goal that the Vikings have given up this year was an own goal.
WWU plays host to No.24-rated Seattle Pacific on Thursday, Oct. 3 (7:30 p.m.), in a GNAC counter.