Vikings Top Falcons 2-0 In GNAC's Opening Semifinal Match
Vikings' forward Karli White opened the scoring with her close-range effort in the 51st minute. The strike gave White her ninth goal this season.
Vikings' forward Karli White opened the scoring with her close-range effort in the 51st minute. The strike gave White her ninth goal this season.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Coming off its first regular-season loss last week, No. 12 Western Washington used two second-half goals to earn a 2-0 win against Seattle Pacific at Tuominen Yard in semifinals of the 2017 GNAC Women’s Soccer Championships.

With a defensive struggle taking place in the first half, Western Washington forward Karli White opened the scoring six minutes into the second half with her ninth goal of the season. Midfielder Emily Bunnell added the insurance goal 17 minutes later when she netted a close-range effort for her second season tally.

With the win, Western Washington advances to its sixth-straight GNAC Championships’ finals. The Vikings face the winner of the second semifinal match between Concordia and Northwest Nazarene this Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Vikings found their first goal off a set piece delivery from senior captain Emily Webster. Her free-kick found the head of midfielder Emily Nelson, who’s guided header found the run of White for the easy tap-in.

Just a minute later, the Vikings were presented with another free kick right outside the Falcons’ box. Western Washington’s Malia Maack recorded her first shot of the game when her strike on goal was parried over the crossbar by SPU goalkeeper Molly Stinson.

Bunnell added late insurance when she was on the receiving end of a Taylor Hallquist cross in the 78th minute. Shortly after Hallquist’s pass from the right flank, WWU forward Gabriela Pelogi fired a shot that found the feet of Bunnell for an easy tap-in. The assists gave Hallquist her fourth of the season while Pelogi picked up her eighth.

Appearing to take an early lead, Seattle Pacific forward Megan Moore had a third-minute goal disallowed after being flagged for offside.

Of its opening five shots, the best Western Washington chance came off the foot of midfielder Jordyn Bartelson in the 28th minute. With both teams jostling in the box, Webster whipped in a corner kick that fell to the feet Bartelson, who lashed her shot wide.

With both defenses giving attackers little room to breathe, Seattle Pacific was unable to record a shot in the opening period. The Vikings, who average 11.4 first-half shots this season, were limited to just six attempts with one finding the target.

A couple of inches separated Seattle Pacific from the equalizer when Falcons’ defender Kaytlin Willis found herself with a 12-yard opportunity following a corner kick in the 61st minute. Allowed a touch, Willis laced a right-footed effort that slammed off the crossbar and back into play.

With 10 shots in the second half, Western Washington outshot the Falcons 16-4. Pelogi and White tallied a team-high three shots each.

The Vikings earned their 12th shutout of the season and have allowed just six goals all year. They improve to 16-1 while Seattle Pacific ends its campaign 10-7. Western Washington owns a 3-0-2 record against the Falcons in five GNAC Championships’ matchups.