A goal midway through the second half proved to be the difference as Western Washington University fell to Montana State University Billings, 1-0, on Saturday in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s soccer contest at Robert S. Harrington Field on the WWU campus.
A school-record 1,179 were in attendance as Harrington Field was formally dedicated prior to the contest.
The Vikings, who completed a five-game home stand, fell to 2-4-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the GNAC despite having a 12-8 advantage in shot attempts.
MSUB claimed its first win of the season, improving to 1-3-3 overall and 1-1-1 in conference play.
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The Yellowjackets got the decisive goal in the 70th minute. Goalkeeper Tom Lohmann took a free kick from just behind the center line that bounced in the WWU penalty area, enabling Rhys Lambert to charge in from the left and head the ball in from eight yards.
“We competed super hard and created a lot of chances,” said WWU coach Greg Brisbon. “We just made one bad mistake, and as they say, ‘That’s soccer.’”
The Vikings had nearly taken the lead barely two minutes prior to the Lambert goal, as Leonard Kusina fed Caden Sowers on a partial breakaway. Sowers beat the onrushing Lohmann to the ball, but his chip toward the net was headed off the line by retreating MSUB defender Cameron Lee.
WWU’s best chance after the goal came when Chad Radulovich fired just wide of the left post from 17 yards out.
The Vikings next take to the road, traveling to nationally No.10-ranked Seattle Pacific on Thursday, Oct. 2 (7 p.m.) and to Saint Martin’s on Saturday, Oct. 4 (1 p.m.) for a pair of GNAC counters.