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.
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.).