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HILLSBORO, Ore. — Junior midfielder/forward Cori Bianchini and sophomore midfielder Abbey Bergquist recorded a goal and assist each, and the Portland State women's soccer team matched its best offensive performance of the 2014 season in a 3-1 win over Dam Cup rival Eastern Washington Friday at Hillsboro Stadium.
The Vikings' three goals mark just the second time the Vikings have scored multiple goals in a match this season, and match the three goals the team scored in a 3-0 win over Colorado State on Sept. 5.
"Today we improved over the course of the game, which was nice to see," PSU head coach Laura Schott said. "The attack got better as the game continued. Even when we didn't score in the second half, the connections we were making were very good."
The Viking offense gave Portland State (4-4-3, 1-1-1 Big Sky) the lead early in the match, as sophomore midfielder Abbey Bergquist and senior midfielder Ariana Cooley scored in the first 20 minutes to put the Vikings up 2-0 early.
Bergquist scored her goal on a penalty kick in the 10th minute, after the referee called Eastern Washington (4-5-0, 1-2-0 Big Sky) for a handball in the box as Bergquist sent a direct free kick into the Eagles' wall. Having earned the penalty, Bergquist got the call to take it as well, and slotted it into the net.
The goal came in Bergquist's first start of the season, as the defending Big Sky Newcomer of the Year returned from an injury that sat her out during the Vikings' non-conference schedule.
"Abbey is a consistent game changer and in addition to her play, we are excited to have her leadership back," Schott said."
The Vikings' second goal followed in the wake of Bergquist's goal, too, as Cooley put the Vikings up 2-0 in the 20th minute after following up a shot from Bianchini. Bianchini made the initial run on the play to earn a shot amid traffic in the box. The EWU defense was able to deflect Bianchini's shot off the left post, but Cooley, who had made a run in behind the play, was right there to field the rebound and fire a shot in past an EWU defender from point-blank range.
The goal gave Cooley her second score of the season, putting her in a tie with junior forward Tamia Hasan and freshman forward Mackenzie Bean for the team lead.
Eastern Washington pulled back within one soon after the Vikings' second goal, however, as freshman forward Chloe Williams got free for a shot in the 27th minute to make it 2-1. Senior forward Cassie Black, who had threatened the Vikings with a couple dangerous runs on the left side earlier in the match, got free on the left side again, and played Williams the ball in the middle of the field. From there, Williams split the PSU defense and fired a shot to the right post that found the netting.
Eastern Washington kept the momentum after their goal, too, outshooting the Vikings 3-0 over the remainder of the first half. Junior midfielder/forward Tasha Luu had the best look at a second goal for the Eagles, as she made a quick turn to fire a hard shot on the PSU goal in the 33rd minute. Fortunately for the Vikings, redshirt junior goalkeeper Caitlin Plese was in perfect position to field the shot, and the Vikings withstood the Eagles' onslaught late in the first half.
Then once in the second half, Bianchini converted on the Vikings' first shot of the period to put the Vikings back up by two at 3-1. Bergquist played Bianchini the ball on the play, after she got a short pass from Bean in the Vikings' attacking third. Bergquist's ball found Bianchini deep up the left side of the penalty box, leaving Bianchini with a tough angle for a shot. Bianchini had no trouble with the angle, though, and cut the ball past the Eagles' goalkeeper for the goal.
Bianchini's goal gave the junior her first score of the 2014 season, as well as her ninth career goal at Portland State. With nine career goals, Bianchini moves into a tie for eighth on the all-time scoring list at Portland State, equaling her with all-time greats Juli Edwards (2004-07), Megan Plinski (2002-05) and Kala Renard (2008-11).
The Vikings found their spark after Bianchini's goal, too, as it led into a dominant second half for the Vikings in which they outshot the Eagles 7-3.
The Vikings had a couple looks at a fourth goal in the second half, including a shot from sophomore midfielder Aurora Bodenhamer in the 58th minute that sailed just wide of the goal. Bodenhamer got the ball after a nice connection from the PSU offense inside the Eastern Washington penalty box, but neither Bodenhamer's shot nor Bergquist's follow could find the net.
Bodenhamer had another chance in the 89th minute, but her shot sailed just over the crossbar.
Bean also gave the Vikings a look at a goal in the 75th minute, when she got loose after picking the ball from the Eagles' backline. Bean fired a shot on the Eastern Washington goal from distance, but EWU goalkeeper Nathalie Schwery was there for the save.
Overall, Friday's win vaults the Vikings back up the Big Sky standings, as it puts them within two points of the Big Sky leaders Idaho, Southern Utah and Montana going into their matches later in the day Friday.
The Vikings get a chance to knock off Montana themselves Sunday, as they host the Grizzlies at Hillsboro Stadium at 1 p.m. (PT) in their next match.
MATCH NOTES: The Vikings improve to 14-4-1 all-time against Eastern Washington with Friday's win…The Vikings have also now beaten the Eagles in five straight matches, and extend their unbeaten streak against the Eagles to seven matches…The Vikings also improve to 8-1-0 all-time at home against Eastern Washington, with their only home loss to the Eagles coming in the 2000 season...Friday's win also gives Portland State an early lead in the Dam Cup series, as Friday's match was the first between Portland State and Eastern Washington in any sport this season.