Vikings Roll To GNAC Title, Team Of The Week Honors
The Vikings improved to 18-2-0 on the season and topped every GNAC opponent that they faced in 2019.
The Vikings improved to 18-2-0 on the season and topped every GNAC opponent that they faced in 2019.

Monday, November 18, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – Western Washington was unstoppable in conference play during the regular season. The competition at the GNAC Championships did little to slow the Vikings down.

After rolling through the GNAC Women's Soccer Championships with a pair of 2-1 victories, the Vikings were selected as the GNAC Team of the Week.

The Vikings topped Central Washington in Thursday’s semifinal match then rolled into the championship match where they edged out second-seeded and host Seattle Pacific on Saturday with late-match heroics.

The Vikings outshot Central Washington, 23-5, and shut out the Wildcats in the second half to advance to Saturday’s championship match. Senior forward and GNAC Player of the Year Karli White opened the scoring in the match, netting a goal in the 31st minute off an assist from junior midfielder Darby Doyle. The Wildcats tied it just two minutes later but the Vikings answered with a second-half strike by Dayana Diaz in the 65th minute to retake the lead.

“I would expect nothing less,” head coach Travis Connell said. “This is championship soccer and it’s one of the best conferences in the country, so you have to earn everything that you get.”

The Vikings limited Seattle Pacific to just two shots on goal in the 2-1 win on Saturday. The Falcons struck first with a goal by freshman Chloe Gellhaus in the 19th minute but the Vikings kept their composure. Senior midfielder Jordyn Bartelson scored the equalizer in the 26th and White notched the game-winner off a rebounded saved shot by freshman defender Makenzie Burks in the 81st to secure the come-from-behind victory and the GNAC title.

“All these student-athletes are fortunate to have a local rivalry like this,” Connell said. “I’m so proud of our conference for teams attacking each other and believing in the players that are on the field. It makes for an entertaining game and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

White was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player for the second time in her career after scoring two goals and tallying 12 shots in the two matches. Led by White’s playmaking, the Vikings improved to 18-2-0 on the season and ran away with the GNAC crown.

With the win, the Vikings earned the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division II Championships, which begin on Thursday.