College Sports

Western women’s soccer heads back to D-II national semifinals

Despite waiting until the 22nd game of the season to face its first deficit, the Western Washington University women’s soccer team is getting pretty good at playing from behind.

For the second straight game, the top-ranked Vikings found themselves trailing by a goal early on, but rallied to grab a 5-1 victory over Colorado School of Mines in the NCAA Division II national quarterfinals Sunday at Golden, Colo.

With the win, Western (22-0-1) heads back to the national semifinals for the third time in the past four years in the second straight year. The Vikings attempt to advance to the program’s first national title game on Dec. 1, when they take on Kutztown in Kansas City, Mo. Columbus State and Grand Valley State will meet in the other semifinal on the same day.

“This team has continued to improve, and amaze me, from the moment they stepped on campus for fall training,” said WWU coach Travis Connell, who recorded his 200th win with the program. “This is a team with a ton of confidence and determination, and they will be tough to beat. We are excited to go to the Final Four again, but this team is already looking at the next two games with steely determination.”

Emily Garnier’s goal 1 minute, 48 seconds in put WWU in an early deficit, but Sierra Shugarts scored the equalizer at the 10:43 mark off an assist from Emily Webster.

Liv Larson added a pair of goals – the first off an assist from Caitlyn Jobanek – in the 27th and 61st minutes, before Emily Nelson put the game away with an assist from Webster in the 63rd. Anna DeWeirdt concluded the scoring in the 83rd off assists from Lauren Carson and Emily Bunnell.