Soccer season showed promise and problems

The 2010 season was bittersweet for the Portland State women’s soccer team.

The 2010 season was bittersweet for the Portland State women’s soccer team.

The Vikings faced the challenge of filling several voids left in the team after the departure of last year’s seniors. However, the Vikings overcame that challenge—as well as season-ending injuries and a mid-season slump—to record their best-ever Big Sky regular season performance in program history, (5-2-0) and finished in second place behind Northern Arizona (6-0-1).

The team finished with a 9-10-1 overall record, scored an unprecedented 31 goals from 20 games (six more than last season) and had six players named to the All-Big Sky team.

Despite their resilience, the Viks failed to break through the semifinal barrier in the Big Sky Championship for the third straight season. The team lost to eventual-champions Sacramento State in Flagstaff, Ariz.  

“In a lot of ways we had a good year,” head coach Laura Schott said. “A lot of players had very good regular seasons. We won five conference games this year, and that has never been done before at Portland State. At the same time, not advancing to the conference final or the NCAA Tournament is very disappointing.”

Below is a month-by-month recap of the historic 2010 season.

August (1-2-0)

Portland State kicked off the regular season campaign with a best-ever performance against No. 5 University of Portland. In their first non-exhibition game of the 2010 regular season, the Viks narrowly lost 0-1 to their cross-town rivals at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex.

Despite being outshot 27-2 in the match, the Viking defense displayed grit and gusto by holding the Pilots’ offense scoreless for 74 minutes before the game’s lone goal hit the back of the PSU net. Two days later, the Viks lost 1-2 to Boise State at the Nike World Campus in Beaverton.

Portland State recorded its first win of the season when the team overcame University of Louisiana at Monroe, 3-2, in double-overtime at the Las Vegas Invitational Tournament.

September (3-4-0)

Portland State continued its winning momentum in Las Vegas and defeated University of Albany comprehensively (3-0) before heading to Corvallis to take on Oregon State. Last season, the Vikings recorded a symbolic 1-0 over their higher-ranked rivals, but this season the Beavers reversed the score to win the match 1-0. Oregon State scored early in the 30th minute and the held onto the single-goal lead until the final whistle.

Next up for the Vikings was Western Oregon at home. It was the first contest for Portland State in their new home fortress at Hillsboro Stadium. The Vikings were known to defend their home territory well and were unbeaten at home in the conference regular season for more than three years. The Vikings continued this proud tradition and defeated Western Oregon in a 3-0 sweep.

The Vikings then headed for a long four-game road trip. The Vikings first headed south to California and defeated University of California, Riverside 3-0. But the goals dried up after the game and the Viking defense conceded nine goals in the next three games. Portland State suffered three straight losses against University of San Diego (1-5), Gonzaga (0-1) and Idaho (2-3).

“Between the Portland, Oregon State and San Diego games we were a little inconsistent, but we have the ability to beat teams like Oregon State like we did last year,” Schott said in a statement released by the school. “I would have liked to have seen us take better advantage of our opportunities. Sometimes we got a little rushed and frantic when those opportunities arose against ranked teams.”

October (5-3-1)

The start of October was not very different from the end of September. The team tied 1-1 at home against Utah Valley, but lost to Seattle University 0-2 in Seattle. Portland State had won against Utah Valley (2-0) and drew against Seattle (1-1) in 2009.

Just before kicking off the defense of their 2009 Big Sky regular season title, the form guide for the Vikings could not have looked worse. The Viks were on a five-game winless streak. The team had also lost one of its captains, junior defender Tish Wise, for the rest of the season due a torn ACL injury.

However, the Vikings staged a dramatic comeback in the regular season and won five of their seven matches, including every match at home. The team started the conference with back-to-back 3-0 wins over Eastern Washington and University of Montana in a single weekend.

Although the team lost the next two away games against Northern Colorado (2-3 in double overtime) and Northern Arizona (0-2), the Viks recorded a hat trick of wins over Weber State (3-0), Idaho State (1-0) and Sacramento State (1-0).

Portland State finished second in the regular season with 15 points (5-2-0) behind Northern Arizona (6-0-1). This finish set up a Big Sky semifinal clash against third-ranked Sacramento State (4-3-0).

November (0-1-0)

Going in to its semifinal contest against Sacramento State in Flagstaff, the team was hopeful that this would be a watershed moment in the program’s history. Up to this point, the team had never advanced beyond the conference semis.

In 2009, Northern Arizona beat Portland State on penalty kicks after a 1-1 double-overtime draw at PCC-Rock Creek. In 2008, it was once again Northern Arizona who emerged victorious (0-1) in the semis.

In the 2010 semifinal, the Viks took a 1-0 lead over Sacramento State in the first half but let in two goals in the second period. Sacramento State went on to march into the conference final, where they defeated Northern Arizona, 1-0, to win the championship.

“There was no doubt in my mind, leading up to the semifinal, that we should move on to the final,” Schott said following the postseason loss. “But we didn’t, and now we’re done for the season.”

Schott recognized several bright points in the season, and she remains optimistic about what the future holds for Vikings’ women’s soccer.

“Kala [Renard] had the beginnings of a breakout year and stepped up at different times to score some very good goals,” Schott said. “Eryn [Brown] led the team with six goals, Melissa [Trammell] scored four, and Hannah [Kimsey] contributed and [Amanda] Dutra did as well. Michelle [Hlasnik] played two games in the midfield and had two assists.

“Looking onto next year, I want to see those players take the next step and see one or two of them step up and say ‘I’m going to lead, and I’m going to score 10 goals this year.” ?