WWU Vikings

Western women’s soccer wins national title in historic fashion (with video)

Grand Valley State University and Western Washington University play in the 2016 NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Championship, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo.
Grand Valley State University and Western Washington University play in the 2016 NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Championship, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo. Courtesy of the Bellingham Herald

Etch it in stone. Scrawl it in the record books. Heck, update the Wikipedia page.

The Western Washington University women’s soccer team is the NCAA Division II national champion after beating three-time defending champion Grand Valley State 3-2 on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.

It’s the first championship in program history and the 10th team national championship in WWU history. The Vikings (24-0-1) did it in record-breaking style with their 24th consecutive victory, breaking the all-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference record for longest winning streak. Those 24 break another GNAC record for most wins in a season.

“We are all really excited on winning the national championship,” coach Travis Connell said in the postgame news conference. “I am just really proud of these players for what they have accomplished. This championship means a lot to the players, to our staff, to our university and to the city of Bellingham.”

Sehome grad and GNAC Defensive Player of the Year Emily Webster scored the winning goal in the 76th minute on a free kick from 25 yards. The shot from her left foot grazed the upper right crossbar and found the net.

“I wasn’t sure,” Webster said of whether she thought she had made it. “It felt good coming off my foot. I missed the first one and was frustrated and hoping to get the second one. It was pure joy after that.”

Senior forward/midfielder Caitlyn Jobanek had two left-footed strikes in the first half that sailed past the Lakers’ goalie for goals. Jobanek was named the Offensive MVP of the National Championship.

“I had the best view in the house, let me tell you,” Connell said. “They were fantastic goals, and that’s probably what it takes to beat a team like this.”

The Vikings faced a familiar foe in the Lakers, as they beat Western 3-2 in last year’s semifinal. Sierra Shugarts, the Defensive MVP of the national championship, said it was good to finally beat Grand Valley State.

“It was a surreal moment,” Shugarts said in a phone interview. “I’m just so proud of my team and what we accomplished this year.”

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Vikings’ team championships

NCAA Division II national titles won by Western Washington University teams:

  • 2005 women’s rowing
  • 2006 women’s rowing
  • 2007 women’s rowing
  • 2008 women’s rowing
  • 2009 women’s rowing
  • 2010 women’s rowing
  • 2011 women’s rowing
  • 2011-12 men’s basketball
  • 2016 women’s soccer
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