Soccer concludes record-setting season

The Portland State Vikings soccer team had won a total of one match since the 2000 season. Going into the 2002 season, nobody really knew what to expect. Would it be another winless or one-win season, then back to the drawing board? This season was exactly the opposite of another letdown. The Vikings won 12 games, setting a school record and capturing rights to the biggest turnaround in Division I sports in 2002.

“Obviously I’m really proud and happy for how far our team came. I think we went out and had a fantastic overall season and a fantastic end,” head coach Tara Bilanski-Erickson said.

The Vikings played in the conference tournament this year for the first time since 1997. They were 4-1-1 in conference play, sharing second place with rival Montana. At home this season, they were a force to be reckoned with, posting a 7-1-2 record between PGE Park and the Tigard Soccer Complex. Playing away from home was not a difficult task for the team either. This year’s team became the first soccer team in history at PSU to have a winning record on the road, 6-4-2.

Going into the Big Sky tournament, the Vikings won 10 out of their final 14 matches and carried the momentum to the postseason. Not being a familiar place for Portland State soccer, the team showed poise pacing a 1-0 nothing win against Montana in the semifinal and advancing to the championship game. It took Idaho State overtime to get the better of the Vikings, 1-0, but Bilanski-Erickson and the squad kept their heads high.

“Hate to finish second place, but I was proud of being second. We played well and played hard, the ball just didn’t go through to the back of the net,” Bilanski-Erickson said.

This year’s team set various school records for goals, assists, points and shots on the offensive end. On defense, it had fewest goals allowed and fewest goals allowed per game. The record for goals was previously 23 in the 1999 season. That record was almost doubled and destroyed with 45 in 2002. Assists went up from 22 in 1998 to 43 by this year’s team. The overall points record was crushed, from 66 in 1999 to 133 in 2002. There were only 20 goals allowed this season to the previous mark set in 1998 at 33.

Another amazing fact about this year’s squad was all the new faces that represented a rejuvenated soccer team. There were 14 new faces on the team, including 10 freshmen, one sophomore and three juniors.

“I’m looking forward to the future of our team because we have such great young talent,” Bilanski-Erickson said.

Of the many accolades and records this team achieved throughout the season, there were individual accomplishments as well. Bilanski-Erickson was named coach of the year for Big Sky soccer in 2002. She is only the second PSU coach in history to receive this award. Sophomore transfer Katie Miyake was named Big Sky co-MVP and newcomer of the year.

Though the 2002 season is over, it may hold some clues for what is to come in the future.