A big advantage in shot attempts wasn’t enough to provide a victory, but nationally ranked Western Washington University still clinched the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season championship with a 0-0 overtime tie against Central Washington University in a GNAC women’s soccer contest on Saturday, Oct. 25, at Robert S. Harrington Field on the WWU campus.
The draw snapped a streak of 20 consecutive home victories for the Vikings, ranked 20th in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll and No.1 in the West Region rating. WWU remains unbeaten at 13-0-3 overall and 9-0-3 in conference play.
“It was a game with playoff intensity, both teams really battled,” said WWU coach Travis Connell. “We created good chances, we just couldn’t get a goal. I’m still proud of the effort.”
The Vikings had a 24-8 advantage in shots, but were stymied by Wildcat goalkeeper Kayla Lipston, who had seven saves. Lipston stopped an Elyse Aylward shot from just eight yards out with 3:19 left in the second half to force overtime, and preserved the result with three saves in extra time, the biggest a kick save off a 12-yard half-volley by Jessica Bertucci.
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Bertucci, WWU’s leader in points on the season with 16 on six goals and four assists, had four of the Vikings’ seven shots in overtime, but had to be helped off the field with two minutes left after an injury to her right leg.
It was Senior Night for a trio of Vikings with midfielder Kim Cooper, defender Brianna Jones and defender Katherine Miccile all participating in their final regular-season home game.
Goalkeeper Ashley Haden had two saves to earn the shutout for Western, the Vikings’ 12th this season.