Forward Elise Aylward's first collegiate goal proved to be the game-winner as Western Washington University posted a 2-1 victory over Seattle Pacific University on Thursday, Oct. 3, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's soccer contest at Orca Field on the Whatcom CC campus.
The Vikings, ranked No.2 nationally in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, remained perfect at 8-0-0 and claimed sole possession of first place in the GNAC at 5-0-0.
SPU, rated No.23, had a seven-match winning streak snapped in falling to 7-2-0 and 4-1-0 in conference play.
Aylward's goal came unassisted in the 55th minute, as she dribbled toward the right corner, then cut back inside into the penalty area and hit a low, bouncing shot inside the far post.
"For her to go this long without getting a goal was stunning," said WWU coach Travis Connell. "She's able to beat defenders and get shots off. It was a huge goal and there are going to be a lot more in her career."
The WWU defense took over from there, holding the Falcons to just one shot the rest of the way and none in the final 27 minutes. SPU's best chance came in the dying seconds, as Viking goalkeeper Alyssa Beauchamp narrowly beat Falcon forward Riley Dopps to a ball deep in the penalty area and made a diving effort to force a corner kick. Time expired before the kick could be taken.