College Soccer

WWU upsets No.12 Northwest Nazarene in overtime

WWU_Vikings(190)BELLINGHAM, WA — Midfielder Kurtis Pederson (Puyallup/Bellarmine Prep) scored on a header in the eighth minute of overtime, lifting Western Washington University to a 2-1 victory over conference-leading Northwest Nazarene University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s soccer contest Saturday at Harrington Field.

The Vikings improved to 4-4-3 overall and 2-3-2 in the GNAC, snapping a three-match winless streak. Northwest Nazarene, ranked 12th in this week’s NCAA Division II National Poll, fell to 8-3-1 overall, 4-2-1 in the GNAC.

“The way we won was because we hustled and battled,” said WWU coach Greg Brisbon. “We dealt better with adversity tonight.”

The Crusaders had a 15-7 advantage in shot attempts and took the lead in the 71st minute, when Julio Castillo took a pass from Luke Broz just inside the top left edge of the penalty area, cut to his right to create space and curled a near-perfect shot inside the right post.

But Western equalized just six minutes later. Conner Pichette (Tacoma/Wilson) pounced on a loose touch on a backpass to NNU goalkeeper Ryan Foo, beating Foo to the ball and with his first touch blasting in a shot from 12 yards.

Pederson wins it for Vikings in overtime. (WWU photo)

Pederson wins it for Vikings in overtime. (WWU photo)

Kurtis Pederson. (Facebook)

Kurtis Pederson. (Facebook)

Then in overtime, Pederson played a ball wide to left back Stephen Jinneman (So., Redmond), then spun toward the goalmouth. From just inside the penalty area, Jinneman played a cross that found Pederson in open space four yards out, and Pederson calmly headed home the game-winner.

The two goals were Western’s only shots on target of the game, as the Vikings spent much of the game sitting deep and establishing a tight defensive wall.

“I was pleased defensively for the most part, we did a really good job and NNU is a hard team to defend,” said Brisbon. “Our guys stuck with the plan, and we got a couple great goals.”

The Vikings visit Saint Martin’s for a GNAC contest Thursday (3:30 p.m.).

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