A winning athletic team can be the result of any combination of these key ingredients: talent of individual players, a strong mental game, awesome team chemistry and excellent coaching. However, in some rare and unexplainable cases, there have been teams who have been known to possess all four game-winning components. The Portland State women’s soccer team happens to be one of the rare few – and, yes, it’s true, the Viking girls have whipped up a tasty little treat that we sports fans like to call a winning streak!
The Vikings soccer girls have won their last four games, the latest of which was against Oregon State, who the viks stomped 2-zip. When asked about the girls’ drawn-out success, head coach Tara Erickson, last year’s Big Sky Soccer Coach of the Year, said “We’re much better than last year. Last year, we didn’t have our full team. We’ve got a lot of talent, and we feel good about the attack. Success feeds on its self. Once we saw a little bit of success, it built up, and now we can look at the positive things our team has to offer. We want nothing short of winning the Big Sky Conference Championship.”
The Vikings’ next shot to further the streak will be against the University of Washington, in Seattle, on Friday, Oct. 3. Coincidentally, Erickson just happens to be a University of Washington alum, and also a former coach of the Huskies. Erickson seems to have a lot of respect for the UW team but says, “They are talented, but we are every bit as talented as they are.” University of Washington is a member of the Pack-10 conference and has been known for consistently producing one of the top 10 programs in the country. Senior Melissa Bennett, who has 26 career assists, and junior Tina Frimpong, who has eight goals and 18 points, head the Husky team. Unfortunately, the Vikings are not looking at easy competition this week. On the contrary, if the PSU women want to keep this streak, it’s going to take a whole lot more than lucky socks to do so.
The Vikings crew is not led by one amazingly talented player. Instead, there are many extremely talented teammates with superb on-field chemistry. Amongst them, you’ll find players such as midfielder Katie Mlyake, who Erickson called “always dangerous,” and who was also last year’s Big Sky Soccer MVP. Another great asset on the field has been freshman midfielder Sophia Mundy, who has a four-game scoring streak going strong. She is also this week’s Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week.
Although the Vikings realize the threat the UW team poses, none of the girls seem to be all that shaken up about it.
“I think we are more confident this year,” said forward Melanie Langley. “I believe we can win every game we play. Every team we play from this point on should be afraid of us. We’re playing as a unit. We have so much individual talent that it even scares me, and I don’t want to jinx it.”
The PSU soccer team is, without question, the team to beat this week. They’ve got a winning streak to protect and a Big Sky Conference Championship to work toward. Keep your fingers crossed and put your lucky boxers on, because on Oct. 4, one more makes five, and we wouldn’t want to jinx it.