Western Washington knocks off #6 UCSD in Bellingham

BELLINGHAM, WA — (School release) In a battle of two of the top NCAA Division II teams on the West Coast, No. 17 Western Washington University defeated No. 6 UC San Diego 3-2 Wednesday evening in a non-conference match at Harrington Field.

The Vikings remained unbeaten at 4-0-1 during the 2016 season and extended its unbeaten streak against West Region teams to 21 consecutive matches. WWU also extended its home winning streak to 16 consecutive games. UC San Diego drops to 3-2 on the season and had its string of 19 consecutive games allowing 2 or fewer goals snapped. UCSD entered the match ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA West Region Poll, while the Vikings were No. 3.

The Vikings jumped out to the early 2-0 lead with goals by sophomore Gabriela Pelogi (Federal Way, WA) in the 23rd minute and senior Erin Russell (Brier, WA) in the 30th minute. USCD pulled to within one goal when Mary Reilly connected in the 31st minute for the first goal allowed by WWU this season.

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The Vikings added a late first-half goal by freshman Jordyn Bartelson (Puyallup, WA) to head into the half with a 3-1 lead. The Tritons scored early in the second half (58′) on Reilly’s second goal of the game, but the Viking defense tightened up to hold on to the lead and give the Vikings the victory.

“Tonight was a really good win against a very good and well-coached team,” said 14th-year head coach Travis Connell. “We rose to the occasion and had the best first half of the season and worked incredibly hard and executed really well.”

Pelogi got the scoring started when she beat a pair of defenders inside the box and took aim at the far post from 16 yards out that beat the UCSD goalkeeper.

Russell staked the Vikings to a 2-0 lead in the 30th minute with a screamer from 20 yards out that beat the keeper to the far post.

With a little over two minutes left in the half, the Vikings struck again with Bartelson connecting on her first career goal. She was on the receiving end of a pair of one-touch passes from sophomore Jen Oak (Covington, WA/Tahoma/Whatcom CC) and Peyton Chick (Renton, WA/Kentridge) and finished inside the far post from 18 yards.

Junior goalie Ashley Homer (Puyallup, WA/College of Saint Rose) improved to 4-0-1 on the season recording a pair of saves. Homer had her streak of four consecutive shutouts snapped allowing the first two goals of the season.

The Vikings return to action Saturday afternoon hosting Western Oregon at 4 pm in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

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