(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
SEATTLE – Host Seattle Pacific University set the tone with four first-half goals on Thursday afternoon at Interbay Stadium, and cruised to a 5-0 win over visiting Montana State University Billings in the 2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s soccer opener.
The Falcons, ranked No. 23 in the latest United Soccer Coaches top-25, remained undefeated on the season and increased their shutout streak to three matches with the lopsided result. SPU is now 4-0 overall, and moved to 1-0 in conference play while upping its goal differential to 11-1 through its first four matches.
MSUB meanwhile snapped a four-match unbeaten streak, slipping to 3-2-1 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Lauren Forster scored a pair of goals within the span of three minutes to lead the Falcons offensively, while Makena Rietz, Mariah Alexander, and Sophia Chilczuk each added a goal. Chilczuk also had a pair of assists, while Sophie Beadle, Ava Giovanola, and Toni Miranda had one helper apiece.
MSUB goalkeeper Clare Keenan was kept on her toes early in the match, handling multiple balls sent into the box by the Falcons in the opening 10 minutes. The most threatening was a low cross by Beadle headed towards the six-yard box that she slid forward to grab before it reached the foot of an oncoming forward.
Rietz tucked home the game’s first goal in the 18th minute, getting on the end of a cross from Chilczuk at the far post. The second goal followed four minutes later, when Chilczuk and Giovanola combined on a quick 1-2 pass leading Alexander into the back of the net.
SPU kept the pressure on for the remainder of the opening half, continuing to send crosses towards the goal and keeping the Yellowjacket back line under attack. Inside of five minutes to go in the first, Forster struck twice quickly to give the Falcons an insurmountable lead. Her first goal was tucked into the lower-left part of the net on a through ball from Miranda in the 42nd minute, and then she doubled her tally with 27 seconds left on the clock with a six-yard strike.
The Yellowjackets mustered some strength coming out of the break, limiting the Falcons to just one goal over the final 45 minutes. The game’s final strike came on a miscue by the MSUB back line, as Chilczuk intercepted a pass back towards Keenan and tucked her second goal of the year into an open net in the 58th minute.
MSUB was out-shot 20-4 in the match with the Falcons placing a dozen shots on frame compared with two for MSUB. SPU also had six corner kicks – five in the second half – while the ‘Jackets went without one. All of MSUB’s shot attempts came from freshmen off the bench, as Kendall McGraw landed a strike on target late in the match and Maddie Smith led the way with two shots including one on frame.
Four different SPU players had three shots meanwhile, as a variety of Falcon attackers kept the Yellowjackets’ hands full throughout the 90 minutes.
THE BUZZ: Keenan was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…MSUB is now 4-23-2 all-time against the Falcons and is 1-12-2 in road contests…SPU is now unbeaten in the last 10 games between the teams dating back to the 2014 season.
COMING UP: Conference play continues on Saturday, with the Yellowjackets hosting Central Washington at Yellowjacket Field.