Overtime Heroics Give SPU Ranked Win, Team Of The Week
Members of the Seattle Pacific women's soccer team celebrate after a goal. The Falcons are outscoring opponents 23-2 this season.
Members of the Seattle Pacific women's soccer team celebrate after a goal. The Falcons are outscoring opponents 23-2 this season.

Monday, October 11, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Seattle Pacific women’s soccer team came out ahead in a battle between two of the best teams in the West Region by defeating No. 6 Western Washington 1-0 in thrilling overtime fashion after a clutch save from GNAC Defensive Player of the Week Riley Travis.

Along with a 2-0 win over Simon Fraser on Thursday that gave the Falcons seven shutouts in nine matches, SPU climbed into a tie for first place in the GNAC standings and earned the conference’s Team of the Week award.

“Our team handled this past week really well,” head coach Arby Busey said. “We shut out two great GNAC opponents and fought our way to two wins at home. Both opponents presented challenges for us, and it took great effort on our part to achieve the results over the weekend.”

Against Simon Fraser, the Falcons’ high-powered offense put the team on the board 15 minutes in when Chloe Gellhaus hit a first-time shot inside the right post from six yards out off a pass from Claire Neder. The Falcons continued to dictate the terms of the match, outshooting SFU 17-7 and maintaining pressure on opposing goalkeeper Kelsey Fisher before breaking through with an insurance goal in the 79th minute. Gellhaus worked the ball out to Lauren Forster, who sent a pinpoint pass across goal that Jacqueline Blakely was able to tap in for her first goal of the season. Travis made four saves to secure the clean sheet.

That was just the appetizer for the most highly-anticipated matchup of the season to date, a Saturday night clash against Western Washington. Seattle Pacific came in at 4-1-0 in conference and 7-1-0 overall, while their rivals from north on Interstate 5 were a perfect 5-0-0 in conference and 8-0-2 overall. In addition, the Vikings held a No. 6 overall ranking, while the Falcons were at No. 25.

The match was a defensive battle befitting two teams that had only conceded two goals apiece in five conference matches. The Falcons did a masterful job putting a potent Vikings offense in check. Western Washington came in averaging three goals per match in GNAC play, but against SPU, they didn’t manage their first shot on goal until the 84th minute.

It was tied 0-0 after 90 minutes, but just 13 seconds into the first overtime period, the Vikings were awarded a penalty kick and the chance to score a walkoff winner from the spot. Darby Doyle shot low and to the right, and Travis read it perfectly, diving to her left for a two-handed save to extend the match.

Five minutes later, the breakthrough came for Seattle Pacific. Once again, link-up play between Gellhaus and Forster created the chance, with Forster whipping in a cross from the right-hand side that fell at the feet of Neder, who buried a shot from six yards out to the far post.

The win ties Seattle Pacific with the Vikings at 5-1-0 in the GNAC standings, and improves the Falcons to an 8-0-1 overall record. Next week, the Falcons will hit the road to take on Central Washington on Thursday and Montana State Billings on Saturday.