Regular season champions!

“It feels great and hasn’t sunk in at the same time,” said Portland State soccer’s head coach, Laura Schott, as her squad was crowned the regular season champion of the Big Sky Conference.

“It feels great and hasn’t sunk in at the same time,” said Portland State soccer’s head coach, Laura Schott, as her squad was crowned the regular season champion of the Big Sky Conference. 

The Vikings closed the regular season on the road with a double-overtime draw to Sacramento State on Friday, and an upset elsewhere in the conference gave Portland State the league title and the honor of hosting the conference postseason this weekend.

“It was so much fun to watch our team—especially our graduating seniors—celebrate an accomplishment they hadn’t reached before. I am very proud of them,” she said.

After finishing on top of the league table with a record of 4-1-2 (10-6-3 overall) for 14 points after seven conference matches, Portland State wins their second regular season title since joining the conference in 1997, with the first happening in 2004.

Portland State entered Friday’s match knowing that a win would surely mean that they would be crowned champions. However, there was an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu after the Vikings and the Hornets ended 110 minutes of play in a 0-0 draw.

Last year, Portland State missed out on a chance to win the conference title in their final game of the regular season after a similar 0-0 double-overtime stalemate with Sac State.

Portland State senior and all-time leading goal scorer Dolly Enneking nearly put the Vikings ahead in the 15th minute, but had her shot stopped by keeper Savannah Abercrombie. She also thwarted Portland State junior Frankie Ross’ effort on goal in the 27th minute.

In the first half, both teams canceled each other out with 2 shots at goal each. There was little to separate the two, as the Vikings almost matched Sac State in shots with 4-5, and corner kicks with 2-3.

Neither team was able to find the breakthrough in the second half, as the Vikings defense held their ground against a barrage of shots from the Hornets’ offense. In the second half, Sacramento State outshot Portland State 9-2.

The game remained scoreless, even after two overtime periods. Portland State senior keeper Cris Lewis recorded her eighth shutout of the season, breaking Portland State’s single season shutout record of 7.5 set in 2002 by Joell Giger.

Despite the win, and resulting conference title, Schott said that although the Vikings fought hard and demonstrated resiliency against the Hornets, she and her team agreed they didn’t play their best.

“Sacramento is an aggressive, talented and explosive team as shown by their record—especially their win over Cal this year,” she said. “We didn’t match their intensity on the day, but I think it just wasn’t our best day.
Hopefully our best days will come this weekend.”

With their last regular-season match in the books as a draw, the Viks had to wait for the remainder of the conference results to come in to find out their place in the postseason. Good news came later that evening when the bottom-placed Northern Colorado team came up with a surprise 4-0 victory over second-placed Northern Arizona, giving Portland State the title.

More good news for Portland State came that night when Enneking and senior midfielder Nathalie Wollmann were named in the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District VIII Soccer Team.

 “Nat and Dolly are having great careers, I’m so happy that they’ve been recognized for the tremendous work they do on the field and in the classroom,” Schott said in a statement released by the university.

The top-seeded Vikings play Northern Arizona in the Big Sky Championship semifinals at 4 p.m. on Friday at PCC-Rock Creek. Second-seeded Eastern Washington squares off against No. 3 Idaho State at 1:30 p.m. the same day in the other semifinal match.

The winners of the semifinals will then have a day to rest before facing off at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The winner of the conference championship earns the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.