By WWU sports information staff
The Western Washington University men’s soccer team celebrated Senior Night in style, defeating No. 1 nationally-ranked and previous unbeaten Simon Fraser 2-1 on Thursday in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action at Harrington Field in Bellingham.
Christian Rotter, a junior forward from Auburn Mountainview, scored the Vikings’ second goal.
The Vikings improved to 10-6-1 overall with their fourth consecutive victory and remain in second place in the GNAC with a 6-4-1 record. SFU had its 16-game winning streak snapped by allowing two goals in a game for the first time this season. Entering play Thursday, the Clan (16-1-0, 10-1-0 GNAC) had outscored opponents 59-7, were fourth in NCAA Division II with a 0.313 goals against average and the No. 2 scoring team in the NCAA II.
“I told my guys after the game, that probably is the best win in program history,” said WWU coach Greg Brisbon. “Beating a team of that caliber … I am really proud of how we played tonight. We defended well and executed on the chances that we created.”
The Vikings got off to the quick start when senior defender Stephen Jinneman (Redmond) scored early in the 27th minute to put WWU up 1-0. Senior Drew Barker (Tacoma) delivered a perfect cross off a corner kick toward the far post, where Jinneman made a sliding touch to put the ball past the SFU keeper for his fourth goal of the season.
Leading 1-0, Western added to its lead in the 70th minute when Rotter dribbled up the left side of the field, juked his defender one-one-one, and then fired a shot to the far post from 11-yards out for his fifth goal of the season, all coming over the last six games.
“Big time goals by Stephen and Christian, in big games … that’s what those two seem to do,” Brisbon said.
Holding a 2-0 lead with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, the Vikings held off the late SFU comeback attempt to pick up its second win over the Clan in the last five meetings. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, WWU is 2-2-2 vs. SFU, with the Clan holding a national ranking in all six of the meetings during this stretch.
Securing the third 10-win season over the last six campaigns, the Vikings played their final home game of the season and honored senior players Jinneman, Barker, Louis Genty, Garrett Strawn and Jose Castillo before the game.
The Vikings (10-6-1, 6-4-1) close out the regular season Saturday, traveling to Portland to face Concordia at Tuominen Yard at 7 p.m.