A lost season?

    It has been a cruel season for the Portland State women’s soccer team.

    Returning home to PGE Park for the first time in seven games, the winless Vikings found themselves in an all-to-familiar situation. On Sunday, PSU was the victim of yet another shutout, falling 0-1, this time to the Nevada Wolfpack.

    Sophomore midfielder Miranda Montejo scored in the 21st minute for Nevada and the Wolfpack never looked back.

    Dominating the match’s shots on goal, Nevada finished with an 18-7 advantage. But PSU was not without its chances.

    “At times we played well,” Coach Tim Bennett said after the game, referring to a spirited offensive attack his team mounted in the second half. But you make one mistake to a good team like Nevada and that does it. We have to learn how to win.”

    Freshman forward Dolly Enneking led Portland State with two shots on goal.

    After the game Bennett gathered his players for a pep talk on the field. He urged them to look forward, continue to work hard, and insisted that they all leave the field together as a team with heads held high.

    Bennett was visibly shaken after delivering the post-game speech, as were many of his players.

    Sunday’s loss further cemented the 0-8-1 Vikings at the bottom of the Big Sky Conference standings and continued a string of scoreless games stretching back to September 8. Their only goal of the season came against Auburn, but the Vikings would eventually fall 3-1.

    The Vikings battled Ball State to a 0-0 tie on September 3 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

    The team was put in a hard place at the end of last year. When the 2005 season concluded, Portland State lost 10 senior players who helped the Vikings to a fourth-place finish in the Big Sky.

    Portland State had an excellent 2006 recruiting class, which was ranked by Soccer Buzz as first in the Big Sky Conference. But as their record shows, the young Vikings team has plenty left to learn.

    On Sunday though, Bennett got contributions from some of those new recruits.

    “[Freshman forward] Nathalie Wollmann, [freshman midfielder] Alissa Russell and [freshman goalkeeper] Rachel Jarvis all played well,” Bennet said Sunday. “[Freshman defender] Michelle Massar also came off the bench and did a good job for us on defense.”

    Junior defender Juli Edwards anchored the team’s defense, catching up with and thwarting Nevada’s strikers time after time. Edwards was an All-first Team All-Big Sky selection in 2005.

    Next up the Vikings play host to the University of Oregon and former Vikings head coach Tara Erickson. The Ducks, 5-4, are led by last year’s all-Pac-10 freshman goalkeeper Jessie Chatfield and senior forward Nicole Garbin. Garbin is regarded as one of the most prolific players in school history.

    The game kicks off at 4 pm, Friday, September 29, at Strasser Field.