BELLINGHAM, WA –– (Vikings release) Christian Rotter scored the game-winning goal in the 82nd minute off a cross from Eleazar Galvan as Western Washington handed No. 3 Simon Fraser its first loss of the season with a 1-0 win on Senior Night at Harrington Field Thursday evening.
The Vikings (8-4-4, 5-3-3 GNAC) were one of two teams to tie the previously-unbeaten Clan earlier this season, with a 1-1 double overtime result in Burnaby on Oct. 15. Simon Fraser, who already clinched the GNAC title prior to the match, dropped to 13-1-2 overall and 8-1-2 in GNAC action.
Rotter (Fr., F, Auburn, WA/Auburn Mountainview) finished from 7 yards with a one-touch strike to the near post after Galvan (Sr., M, Chelan, WA/Skagit Valley College) beat a defender on the end line and sent a low cross into the 18-yard box from the right side of the field. It was Rotter’s third goal of the season and the team-leading fifth assist of the year for Galvan.
The Vikings held Simon Fraser to 1 shot following the goal to secure the win. The victory marked the fourth consecutive shutout win for the Vikings, who are unbeaten over their last five matches and improved their season record at home to 7-1-1.
“Another great win, we have a really good streak going,” head coach Greg Brisbon said. “It was not the prettiest game for us offensively – Simon Fraser is a fantastic team, by far the best team we’ve played this year.”
Neither team had allowed a goal since the previous meeting between the squads, with each school entering the match on streaks of three consecutive shutout victories. With the win, Western Washington moved into a tie with the Clan for the conference lead in shutouts (8). The Vikings have not allowed a goal over their last 408:04 of play.
“That’s definitely one of the things I wanted to improve on this season,” Brisbon said of the defense and clean sheets. “We definitely have – I think we’re tied with them (Simon Fraser) in shutouts at 8 and that’s an incredible stat right there.”
Junior goalkeeper Tyler Visten (Mount Vernon, WA/Skagit Valley College) made 4 saves to record his seventh shutout of the season. Simon Fraser goalkeeper Brandon Watson made 1 save.
The Clan held an 11-6 advantage in shots (4-2 edge in shots on goal), and took 8 corner kicks compared with 3 for the Vikings.
In addition to the shots on goal, both teams came close to scoring with shots off the goal frame. Freddie Gard put a shot off the crossbar just before halftime for Simon Fraser and Rotter hit the cross bar with a strike in the 65th minute.
Prior to the match, the Vikings honored their four seniors with a short pregame ceremony. Galvan, defender Brady Ulen (Coeur d’Alene, ID/North Idaho College), midfielder Conner Pichette (Tacoma, WA/Wilson) and goalkeeper Andrew Wildfong (Woodinville, WA/Whatcom CC) were the four Western Washington seniors honored.
Western Washington closes out the GNAC schedule at Concordia on Saturday with a 4 pm start time.