Sawyer Preston (Sr., Sammamish/Eastlake) scored in the 66th minute, helping Western Washington University earn a 1-1 tie against nationally ranked Cal State L.A., in a non-conference men’s soccer season-opener Thursday, Sept. 3, at Harrington Field on the WWU campus.
CSULA, which won the West Regional of the NCAA Division II National Tournament last year and is ranked No.6 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Preseason Poll, opened the scoring four minutes after halftime with a goal by Troy Dumlao.
Dumlao headed home a driven cross from the right by Shahin Hemat, finishing into the upper right corner.
But the Vikings answered 17 minutes later. Preston narrowly beat the Golden Eagles’ goalkeeper to a Jeremy Wentzel (Sr., Edmonds/Edmonds-Woodway) corner kick, heading the ball inside the far post.
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“I was very happy with our performance,” said WWU coach Greg Brisbon. “The first half was okay, and in the second half, we gave up an early goal, but we battled back. You’re going to give up goals, but how you react to that is really important.”
Each team had good chances after that, with perhaps the best opportunity coming for CSULA in the 107th minute, when Dumlao had an open shot from 14 yards deflect off a WWU defender and over the crossbar.
“We had some good possession that created opportunities,” said Brisbon. “Cal State L.A. is a fantastic team and they’re hard to score on. I’m happy with the result, and happy with where we’re at for this time of the season.”
Goalie Tyler Visten (Jr., Mount Vernon) had seven saves for the Vikings in his first WWU start.
WWU entertains UC San Diego on Saturday, Sept. 5 (1 p.m.).