WWU Vikings

WWU women’s soccer dominates semifinal, faces one last test Saturday

The Western Washington women’s soccer team is one win from a national title after beating Kutztown 3-0 on Thursday in the NCAA Division II semifinals in Kansas City, Mo.

Western (23-0-1) extended its winning streak to 23 games to match the Great Northwest Athletic Conference record set by Seattle Pacific in 2007. It also recorded a school-record 17th shutout of the season.

The top-ranked Vikings were dominant on both ends of the field. Senior Becca Cates started the scoring in the 25th minute on an assist by Liv Larson. Cates headed the ball in from 5 yards to the near post for her second goal of the year.

Western scored next in the 59th minute when sophomore Gabriela Pelogi netted her team-leading 11th goal of the year on a right-footed flick to the near post from 6 yards. Freshman Peyton Chick had the assist.

In the 88th minute, Jordyn Bartelson scored on an assist by Colleen Lindsay. Western had 35 shots, 18 on goal, and 21 corners. The 21 corner kicks were a D-II championships record.

However, the Vikings were most impressive on defense. Kutztown was held to zero shot attempts and didn’t attempt any corners, either.

“I thought our effort was exceptional tonight and we didn’t let up the entire game,” coach Travis Connell said in a release. “We had a ton of opportunities early in the game and kept pressing. Saturday is going to be a great soccer match vs. two really good teams. Our team is excited for the opportunity to play for a national championship.”

Saturday will be a rematch of last season’s semifinal in which Grand Valley State beat Western 3-2. Since 2012, Grand Valley State (112-6-8) and Western (99-9-7) are the two winningest teams in D-II women’s soccer. Grand Valley State is the three-time defending champion.