Soccer and cross country kick off season

The Portland State soccer and cross country teams are both gearing up for exciting seasons.

Viking soccer returns to its home field of PGE Park this fall, after an eight year stint using the Tigard High School field. Also Tara Bilanski-Erickson has returned for her second year as head coach.

The Vikings got off to an impressive start on Aug. 30 with a home win against Colorado College, a club which received some votes as one of the top Central Region teams by Soccer Buzz Magazine. First-half goals by Ginny Seibel and Katie Miyake in tandem with the effort of goalkeeper Joell Giger sealed the 2-0 shutout.

On Sept. 1, first-half goals by Julie Forrest, Krystin Ellsworth and Karly Larson enabled the Vikings to pull out a 3-2 victory over the Arkansas Ladybacks. This is the first 2-0 start for the Vikings since the 1995 season.

The Vikings did not fair so well on their first away game of the season on Sept. 6, with a 3-0 loss to Oral Roberts. They gave up three second-half goals and failed to retaliate against the Oklahoma team. It was the first ever meeting between the schools.

The team bounced back two days later, tying the University of Tulsa 2-2. It was a close match from the very beginning and the pressure did not let up even through two ten-minute overtime periods. The final tying Viking goal came unassisted from freshman Jessica Shadle, the first goal of her college career.

On Sept. 11, the Vikings were back at PGE Park, where they tied Boise State 1-1. In yet another double-overtime game, Megan Plinski’s goal in the 85th minute kept the team from their second loss of the season. The tie could signify an improved Viking team, which had lost their last three games to Boise State.

The Vikings gave an outstanding performance on Sept. 14, dominating the Southern Utah Thunderbirds with a score of 7-0. It was the first time in PSU Soccer history a team scored seven points in one game.

The record-breaking shutout was truly a team effort. Freshman Megan Plinsky had a huge game, scoring three goals in less than 90 seconds into the second-half, and junior Melanie Langley added her first goal of the season. Forward Katie Lovato and midfielders Julie Forrest and Katie Miyake each had a goal and an assist. Starting goalie Joell Giger was given the second-half off, while freshman Niki Brooks took over for the shutout.

This past Monday the Vikings completed their most successful road trip in three years, tying Utah State 1-1.

Soccer returns home Sept. 27 to the Tigard High School Soccer Complex against Wyoming, and returns to PGE Park Sept. 29 against Air Force.

Just as soccer is off and running the right direction, so are PSU’s cross country teams. Under Head Coach Tony Veney, the men’s and women’s cross country teams are also off to a good start. Standout newcomers Andrea Scwhartz, Brynn Cogdill, Mandy Peterson, Mike Kebbe, Bill Dolan, Michael Davenport and Blake Flanders are expected to make already talented teams even stronger.

The cross country teams performed very well at their season-opener in Idaho on Sept. 6. The women finished the meet 2-1 with wins over Gonzaga and Washington State. Two runners were able to place in the top 10, with Jennifer Rodgers and Brynn Cogdill placing fourth and sixth respectively.

��On the men’s team, Mike Kebbe, Paul Loprinzi and Evan Garich were all able to place in the top 10 with impressive times. Kebbe, who finished at 20:41 for 4 miles and Jennifer Rodgers, who finished at 15:05 for 4 kilometers, both earned nominations for Big Sky Conference “Runner of the Week” honors.

The success continued at the Pier Point Park Invitational on Sept. 13. The Viking men beat-out the University of Portland and University of Oregon “B” squads in the 6K race. The women lost to the University of Portland 26 to 31 in the 5K.

Next up for the team is the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., Sept. 28.