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Killman's Historic Hat Trick Helps Vikings Advance
Jenna Killman celebrates the fastest hat trick in conference history during WWU's 3-1 semifinal win over Northwest Nazarene.
Jenna Killman celebrates the fastest hat trick in conference history during WWU's 3-1 semifinal win over Northwest Nazarene.

Friday, November 12, 2021

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – After Jenna Killman scored for Western Washington in just the second minute of their semifinal against Northwest Nazarene with an assist from midfielder Tera Ziemer, the second-seeded Vikings figured if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Killman scored three goals in the first 13:15, the fastest hat trick from the start of the match in GNAC history, and Ziemer assisted on all three as Western Washington blitzed the visiting Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks in the first half on their way to a 3-1 victory in the second GNAC Championships semi-final at Harrington Field in Bellingham.

The win for the hosts, plus Seattle Pacific’s earlier 2-1 win over Simon Fraser, means the GNAC will have the title game that many predicted at the start of the year. The Vikings and Falcons will compete in the GNAC Championship match for the sixth time in the past eight Championships on Saturday at 1 p.m.

On paper, the Western Washington and Northwest Nazarene match-up was a thrilling one. The teams split their two regular season meetings, and the last time the two teams shared a field the Nighthawks recorded a 2-1 win that was the program’s first triumph over a Vikings squad since 2003. But barely ninety seconds in, defender Katie Watt played Ziemer through with a ball up the right-hand side. Ziemer’s low cross traveled into the six-yard box and Killman stepped in front of a defender and smartly redirected the ball into the top right corner past Nighthawks goalkeeper Alexis Montoya.

The senior struck again in the 10th minute. Ziemer officially recorded an assist by feeding Killman, but it was far more of an individual effort as Killman beat a defender, cut inside and rifled a shot into the top right corner from outside the box.

Just four minutes later, Killman completed the trifecta. This time, she was the first to react after Montoya blocked but couldn’t hang on to a shot from Ziemer, punching it into the top right corner for a third time over a sliding and rushing Montoya. Junior Karina Provo also earned an assist on the third goal.

The previous fastest hat trick in conference history was from Western Washington’s Elise Aylward in 2015. Aylward scored in the third, 12th and 15th minutes of a 5-0 win over Simon Fraser. The shortest amount of time between a player’s three goals at any point in a GNAC match is just under nine minutes by Christina Dixon of Simon Fraser, who scored three between the 81st and 90th minutes of a different 2015 match.

Between Killman’s three scores, Ziemer’s effort that led to the third goal and a 24th-minute one-hopper from Dayana Diaz that was saved by Montoya, the Vikings managed to put their first five shots of the match all on target. The Vikings would go on to outshoot the Nighthawks 15-7 in total and 8-3 in shots on goal.

Early on in the match, Western Washington played a very direct style, getting the ball upfield and looking for balls over the top. After opening up a lead, the Vikings were content to seek to keep possession and play from the back. Western Washington’s center back duo of Watt and Makenzie Burks and holding midfielder Darby Doyle clogged NNU passing lanes all match long and didn’t allow the Nighthawks to keep sustained possession.

In the second half, Northwest Nazarene showed why they were a top-three playoff team and made key adjustments after the break. The visitors held the ball in the Vikings end and caught out Western’s back line more frequently.

The visitors finally got their scoring chance when Dierickx brought down Nighthawks forward Ashley Parton in the box for a penalty kick in the 59th minute. Parton sent Dierickx the wrong way for her fourth goal of the year.

Later on in the 65th, Magda Wronski struck a free kick perfectly that eluded a leaping Dierickx, but the ball struck the underside of the crossbar and stayed out.

Western Washington took back control for much of the rest of the game, holding the ball for 55% of each half. After the final whistle blew, Vikings players doused Killman with a bucket of Gatorade, which Killman may have barely felt after a night of steady rain.

Killman now leads the conference with 12 goals this season. Ziemer’s three assists give her 18 points for the year.

The Vikings now face the Falcons again after losing to Arby Busey’s squad twice in the regular season. The teams occupy the top two spots in the most recent NCAA West Regional Rankings.

Tickets are still available for Saturday’s 1 p.m. match and can be purchased online at GNACTickets.com.

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