Into the playoffs

The Portland State women’s soccer team sealed its position in next month’s conference tournament with a 1-0 win over Idaho State in a rain-drenched game at Hillsboro Stadium on Sunday.

The Portland State women’s soccer team sealed its position in next month’s conference tournament with a 1-0 win over Idaho State in a rain-drenched game at Hillsboro Stadium on Sunday.

“It was a big win,” said Portland State head coach Laura Schott. “Idaho State is a much improved team and they were a tough opponent today.”

With the win, the Vikings (8-9-1, 4-2-0 Big Sky) are in second place in the Big Sky Conference with 12 points from their six league matches. However, the Vikings will not be able to climb any higher in the standings, as Northern Arizona clinched the regular season championship on Sunday with a 2-1 overtime win over Eastern Washington.

On Sunday, Portland State started the home game against the Bengals, with sophomore Lainey Hulsizer in goal for the third consecutive match. Sophomore Michelle Hlasnik, who has played almost every game this season as a right back, started on the left wing. The coach opted for senior Frankie Ross and junior Kala Renard to lead the Viking attack.

Idaho State took control of the match early in the first half with two attempts on goal from midfielder Lauren Ryan. However, the Vikings were able to weather the storm. For the Vikings, the goal came in the 28th minute through freshman midfielder Hana Kimsey.

Sophomore midfielder Amanda Dutra curled the ball in from a corner kick, and the Bengals were unable to clear. It instead fell to Kimsey at the edge of the 18-yard box, where she struck the ball off the rebound with venom, putting it into the back of the Bengals’ net to give Portland State the lead.

The Vikings continued to maintain their offensive momentum through the rest of the half. In the 34th minute, Dutra played a defense splitting through ball to freshman Eryn Brown down the right flank. However, the Idaho State goalkeeper Carly Hutchings got to the ball before Brown and smothered it before Brown could take her shot.

In the 41st minute, junior defender Toni Carnovale took a free kick from the half way line and tested Hutchings. The goalkeeper had to push the ball over the crossbar to keep it out of the net.

By the end of the half, the Vikings had outshot Idaho State 7-4 and had forced four saves from their goalkeeper.

But these statistics were modest compared to the second half results. After 90 minutes, Portland State led Idaho State 23-9 in attempts on goal and extracted 12 saves from their goalkeeper.

“I think we could have had more goals,” Schott said. “But the good thing is that we are getting a lot of very good chances and creating lots of attacks. Although we could have finished a few more.”

In the 48th minute, Idaho State forward Rachel Strawn found herself in a one-on-one duel with Hulsizer, but the Viking goalkeeper came off her line and made the save. It was all Portland State from then on.

Dutra and Kimsey led a counter attack in the 55th minute. However, Kimsey decided to go on her own and shot the ball straight into Hutchings. Soon after, in the 57th minute, Brown cut in from the right flank, but Hutchings once again foiled her effort.

Just seconds after that, Kimsey unleashed a high shot towards the Idaho State goal. Hutchings had to make a full-stretch save and lob the ball over the crossbar. Then, in the 58th minute, Hlasnik’s shot went just over the crossbar.

Portland State’s attacking play continued through the half. In the 62nd minute, Renard put in a cross from the left wing. Ross deflected the ball towards goal with her head, but her header went slightly wide.

The Vikings got a scare in the 77th minute. Goalkeeper Hulsizer collided with a Bengals forward near the edge of the 18-yard box. With the goalkeeper off the line, an Idaho State player took a shot at goal. However, senior left back Emily Rohde blocked the shot right at the goal line.

The Vikings had one final chance to pad their lead with an insurance goal in the 87th minute. Junior forward Melissa Trammell and Dutra exchanged passes and broke away for a two-on-one situation against a Bengal defender. But for the last time in the game, Hutchings denied Trammell and PSU the second goal.

“We played really well,” Brown said. “We were on the same page defensively. We should have put more away, but at least we got one goal.”

This was the fourth shutout in the Big Sky competition for the Vikings, an accomplishment Schott credits to the Vikings’ back line.

“This is our first home game where we didn’t win by three goals, so we needed a shutout today,” Schott said. ?