Vikings' 5-0 Victory Leads To Team Of The Week Honor
Western Washington's win over Bridgeport was broadcasted for a national audience on ESPN3/WatchESPN
Western Washington's win over Bridgeport was broadcasted for a national audience on ESPN3/WatchESPN

Monday, September 26, 2016

PORTLAND  – Western Washington women’s soccer’s 18th consecutive home victory was a convincing 5-0 win over No. 10 Bridgeport in a nationally-streamed match on ESPN3, earning the Vikings the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honor.

For the second consecutive week, Western Washington put its home winning streak on the line against a top-10 team and came out victorious. The Vikings are now just four wins away from tying the GNAC record for most consecutive home victories set at 22 by Seattle Pacific in 2004.

In their second match of the week, Western Washington held off a hot Simon Fraser team on the road with a 1-0 victory. GNAC Offensive Player of the Week Gabriela Pelogi set up Elise Aylward right in front of the net for a goal in the 26th minute, which was enough for the Vikings, which has produced seven shutouts in eight matches.

“Gabby is a really dangerous player and she is playing with a lot of confidence,” head coach Travis Connell said. “The first goal she scored against Bridgeport was fantastic. She created something out of nothing. She’s also really good off the dribble making passes on the ground and you saw that with both assists she had to Elise, who is also very dangerous. As a coach, it’s great to have so many offensive weapons.

Western Washington started the scoring early in its convincing 5-0 win over Bridgeport, which also reached the semifinals of the national tournament last year. Pelogi scored the first goal of the game off a long pass from defender Sierra Shugarts, who led a Viking defense that allowed just one shot on goal in the match. Only 85 seconds later, the Vikings doubled their lead when Pelogi passed the ball on the ground into the box to Aylward, who scored from 10 yards out.

Western Washington later scored twice off corner kicks with Erin Russell and Caitlyn Jobanek being credited with the goals. Colleen Lindsay wrapped up the scoring for Western Washington in the victory with her first goal of the season scoring off a rebound right in front of the goal.

“It’s great for us to play against these talented teams whether we win or lose,” Connell said. “Talented teams like Bridgeport and UC San Diego bring a lot out in us. In both games our offense stepped up to get the win, so getting the opportunity to play these kinds of teams makes us better as a team.”

Ashley Homer played the first 71 minutes of the win over Bridgeport and recorded one save. In the win over Simon Fraser, the junior goalkeeper saved all three shots on goal to record her sixth clean sheet this year.

“It’s especially tough to defend on the road, but Ashley came up with some big saves,” Connell said. “Throughout the season, she’s making at least one big save in each match and that’s what we need to get these wins. Our defense as a whole buys into effort. We talk about we don’t have to do anything extraordinary – just do the ordinary consistently well.”

Western Washington is currently on a seven-match winning streak and is the only team in the GNAC that has won all of its conference matches. The Vikings also have an unbeaten streak of 35 regular season matches at home, which is now just five shy of the conference record set by Seattle Pacific in 2010.

“We don’t pay much attention to winning streaks,” Connell said. “We are always focused on our next game. When you put all your focus into your next match consistently for a long period of time, the result is this kind of winning streak.”

Western Washington will host two more matches this week, starting with Saint Martin’s on Thursday. Then on Saturday, the Vikings will host the current leader in the GNAC standings when Concordia makes the trip to Bellingham, Wash.