Successful soccer season ends in semifinals

The Portland State women’s soccer season ended over the weekend, when the Vikings dropped their semifinal game to Northern Arizona University, 2–1.

The Vikings were coming off a regular season in which they finished strong, not losing in their last six regular season matchups. They hoped to carry that momentum into their playoff game, and they almost did, scoring the first goal of the game.

Sophomore Abbey Bergquist struck first in the game, putting the Vikings ahead. Northern Arizona was quick to tie it up in the 17th minute, and that tie stood for a long time. It wasn’t until the 78th minute that Northern Arizona’s Adrian Nixt broke the stalemate and scored what would be the game-winning goal.

Nixt’s opportunity came after a series of offensive attacks from Northern Arizona. Their pressure eventually won through when Nixt found herself open in front of the goal. After a pass from junior Haley Wingender, Nixt had an easy volley into the ­Vikings’ goal.

With only 12 minutes left in the game, PSU sent as many attackers forward as they could afford to, in an effort to get the equalizer. Unfortunately, the Vikings fell short even after a few good opportunities presented themselves, including a shot off the post in the last 90 seconds of regulation. Nixt’s goal stood and effectively ended PSU’s season.

This game was the last for PSU’s three seniors. For the Vikings to play in another game, they would have to qualify for the NCAA tournament. The Big Sky Conference Champion gets an automatic bid, and at-large bids are handed out to non-conference champions as well. PSU’s Rating Percentage Index—a metric to quantify strength of schedule—is not high enough to gain them a bid.

The seniors have no reasons to hang their heads after a successful season that only had two in-conference losses, and which had the Vikings going up against teams like California, Oregon and Texas Tech. The Vikings beat Oregon and lost a close contest to Texas Tech. But they really hit their stride in the conference schedule when they were able to string victories together and make a push for the Big Sky ­Conference Championship.

The end of the season saw the Vikings score five goals in their final two games, including a 3–1 victory against Idaho and a 2–0 victory against ­Sacramento State. Both games were played at Hillsboro Stadium, and the shutout against Sacramento State was Senior Night for the three Vikings.

PSU then traveled to Missoula, Montana, for their one postseason appearance.

The Vikings were led in scoring by junior Tamia Hasan, who scored four goals on the season. Two other Vikings added three goals for PSU, who scored 21 goals all year.

The Big Sky Conference Championship game is the next step for Northern Arizona, who will advance to the NCAA tournament if they come out on top.

Of all of the teams the ­Vikings have played in the Big Sky, they have the worst record against Northern ­Arizona. In 21 matches against the Lumberjacks, PSU has only won five times.