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.
“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.
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.