WWU surrenders golden goal with 35 seconds remaining in the first overtime. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Vikings Fall in GNAC Championships Final On
November 3, 2018
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Concordia Cavaliers had a pair of potential go-ahead goals late in the game wiped off the board on offside calls, but the third one with 35 seconds left in the first overtime went for the golden goal in a 2-1 victory over Western Washington on Saturday afternoon in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships Final at Tuominen Yard.
Concordia senior forward Sydney VanSteenberge scored in the 100th minute at the 99:25 mark off a cross from junior forward Kyra Radcliffe, touching home the game-winning goal from 5-yards out to end WWU’s three-year run as the GNAC Tournament champions. CU becomes the third conference member school to win the women’s soccer championships, joining the Vikings (4) and Seattle Pacific (2) in the seven-year history of the event.
WWU, the No. 1 seed in the tournament after winning its seventh regular-season GNAC championship, had its seven-game winning streak and 13-game unbeaten streak snapped to fall to 16-3-1 on the season. Concordia won its first GNAC Tournament title, avenging an overtime loss to the Vikings in last season’s GNAC Tournament final, to improve to 14-1-3 on the season. Both teams are shoe-ins to be announced as part of the seven-team NCAA Division II West Regional field when it is announced Monday on NCAA.com.
"That was a great game between two teams playing with a ton of heart and determination leaving everything they had on the field. It was great college sports,” said WWU head coach Travis Connell. “These games are extremely tight and well played, and both teams are looking for that one piece of magic or that one piece of quality that will win the game…and they were able to produce two of them and we had one.”
The Cavaliers struck first in the 21st minute on a header goal by Kasey Ames at the 20:37 mark. Senior defender Karlie Hurley controlled the ball just inside the 18-yard box on the right flank, and fired a cross to the far post, where VanSteenberge headed it back to Ames for the header goal inside the right post for her fourth goal of the season.
WWU sophomore Alice Hiebert (Bellingham, WA) scored the equalizer in with less than three minutes remaining in the first half, knocking home a failed clearance with a quick strike from 12-yards just inside the left post. It was Hiebert’s third goal of the season, and second vs. the Cavaliers.
With 14 minutes remaining in regulation, the Cavaliers had a golden opportunity to pull ahead when Gabrielle Ewing collected a loose ball after WWU goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx was pulled off her line to attempt a sliding save. Ewing had an open look at the goal, but three Viking defenders formed a wall with Jordyn Bartelson (Puyallup, WA) and Hattie North (Bellingham, WA) helping make the team save kicking the ball away from the mouth of the goal to keep the score level at 1-1.
Concordia appeared to put the go-ahead goal on the board in the 88th minute when Ewing put the ball in the net, but was flagged for being offside. Just after the offside call, junior forward Quinn Williams had a shot go wide right after a good look at the goal. The Cavaliers had another potential game-winning goal taken off the board when an offside call was again made at the 96:44 mark in overtime.
“I give Concordia a ton of credit as this was a well-deserved win for its program,” added Connell. “At the same time I am extremely proud of our group for their performance and how they have dealt with some adversity. There is no quit in this group and they will take the next challenge head-on.”
The Vikings were without standout senior defender and First Team All-GNAC selection Taylor Hallquist (Vancouver, WA/Columbia River) who left the game in the 7th minute of the game with an injury and did not return. Senior three-time First Team All-GNAC forward Gabriela Pelogi (Federal Way, WA) did not see action in the GNAC Championships, missing the last five games with an injury.