Vikings Top Saints To Set Up Date With Lakers In Title Match
Grace Eversaul (17) scored the opening goal for the Vikings in the ninth minute, which proved to be the game-winner. Photo by Max Aquino.
Grace Eversaul (17) scored the opening goal for the Vikings in the ninth minute, which proved to be the game-winner. Photo by Max Aquino.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Vikings are partying like it’s 2016.

For the second time in program history, Western Washington is headed to the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer National Championship match as the No. 3 seed Vikings took down No. 2 seed and previously undefeated Flagler at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The last time the Vikings reached the title match was three years ago when they won the national championship.

The Vikings took an early 1-0 lead courtesy of junior midfielder Grace Eversaul’s ninth-minute goal off an assist from senior forward Karli White. It was Eversaul’s team-leading eighth goal of the year and her third goal in the NCAA Championships. She also notched the golden goal in the Vikings’ 1-0 double-overtime victory over Cal State LA in the second round of the West Regionals then scored the third goal in a 3-0 rout of Dixie State in the quarterfinals.

“We got off to a great start,” head coach Travis Connell said. “Flagler had some big-time attacking weapons, so we knew that we had to play the game at the other end of the field. I was impressed with our energy and commitment to moving the ball forward.”

The 2019 GNAC Player of the Year, White put the game on ice when she scored the insurance goal in the 84th minute off an assist from senior midfielder Jordyn Bartelson. White also led the Vikings with seven shots and four shots on goal. She now has seven goals and 23 points to go with her GNAC-leading nine assists in her senior campaign.

Junior goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx came up with five saves on her way to registering her 13th shutout of the season. She holds an .864 save percentage and a 22-2-0 goalkeeping record. Her 0.35 goals against average ranks second in Division II.

Western Washington was relentless on both sides of the ball, tallying 17 shots and nine shots on goal while limiting the Saints to five shots on goal. With the win, the Vikings picked up their 18th shutout of the season to go with a 0.32 goals against average, which tops Division II.

“We’re excited to play in the national championship game again,” Connell said. “In two days, we get to go up against arguably the best attacking team ever assembled, so our defense is going to have to be its best to win.”

Western Washington improves to 23-2-0 on the season and extends its winning streak to 19 matches. The Vikings have a date with Grand Valley State in the NCAA Division II title game at noon on Saturday.