In front of its largest audience in years, the Washington women’s soccer team put on a show en route to its first conference win of the season.
Washington defeated California 1-0 in its first victory since defeating Seattle U on Sept. 16.
“We wanted to play well tonight,” head coach Nicole Van Dyke said. “We wanted to stick together and to the rules, which were commitment and collectivity and making sure we did that together and that’s what we’re gonna focus on right now.”
The game-winning goal came courtesy of senior midfielder Summer Yates only six minutes into the match following a frantic, back-and-forth start to the match. Yates rose highest to head home a beautiful cross from nearly halfway via redshirt sophomore Helena Reischling.
It was Yates’ third goal of the season and as integral as any, propelling the Huskies to a much-needed Pac-12 victory.
“Tonight we deserved it and we earned it,” Van Dyke said. “We continue to build and stick together.”
The Huskies’ (3-5-3, 1-1-2 Pac-12) most brilliant showing came from the backline, securing their third clean sheet of the year. Redshirt senior center back Payton McGee put in a magnificent shift, playing the full 90 minutes alongside fellow redshirt senior Jessika Cowart to make up a dominant back tandem.
“[Payton’s] been super strong,” Van Dyke said. “She’s great in the air and breaks up counter attacks and it takes time to acclimate and gain chemistry, and I think she’s just a perfect fit and has been fantastic for us.”
Cal was unable to get going, as the Golden Bears (5-3-3, 1-2-1 Pac-12) only managed three shots on net, giving redshirt senior goalkeeper Olivia Sekany little to fret about.
The Huskies hope to carry their defensive momentum forward, with big aspirations for the remainder of the season.
“Our principle is always staying together,” senior Olivia Van Der Jagt said. “If we do that it gets us that many more opportunities and chances on offense. We still have the same goal of winning the Pac-12 and making it to the tournament.”
Washington continues the season on Sunday, Oct. 10 at noon against Stanford at Husky Soccer Stadium.
Reach writer Rajan Hans at email@example.com. Twitter: @RajanHans14
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