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HILLSBORO, Ore. — Needing a win to clinch the second seed and a first-round bye at the Big Sky Tournament, junior forward Tamia Hasanscored a pair of late goals to lead the Portland State women's soccer team to a 2-0 win over Sacramento State Friday at Hillsboro Stadium.
The win gives the Vikings (9-5-4, 6-2-2 Big Sky) 20 points in conference play, putting them out of reach of the rest of the conference for the second seed at next weekend's Big Sky Tournament.
"It's great to finally have it settled and not leave it up to results later this evening," PSU head coach Laura Schott said. "Having the second seed is really important because of the bye with the new tournament set up, so hopefully that will help us out moving forward."
As the second seed, the Vikings earn a bye into the semifinals of the tournament, where they'll face the winner of the quarterfinal match between the No. 3 and 6 seeds, both of which will have to play a day before the semifinals.
Friday's win also assures the Vikings of entering the conference tournament as one of the hottest teams in the Big Sky, as they recorded their third straight win in beating the Hornets (9-10-0, 4-6-0 Big Sky), who had entered the match riding a three-match winning streak of their own.
The Hornets stayed with the Vikings for much of Friday's match, as the teams entered the final 10 minutes of regulation still knotted at 0-0. The Vikings had golden opportunities for go-ahead scores earlier in the match, but sent a pair of shots on one-on-one situations in the 73rd and 74th minutes right at Sacramento State goalkeeper Kimberly Mata, who made the saves to keep her team in the match.
Hasan finally broke through for the Vikings in the 83rd minute, however, scoring just over two minutes after she subbed back into the match. Hasan's first goal came as a result of a pair of quality passes from senior defender Kelsey Henningsen and junior midfielder/forward Cori Bianchini. Henningsen's pass to Bianchini pushed the ball up from the back in a hurry, while Bianchini's pass to Hasan fed the always-speedy Hasan in perfect stride. No Sacramento State defender had a chance against Hasan after Bianchini's pass, leaving Hasan with another one-on-one with Mata, and this time Hasan faked Mata out just enough to slide a shot past her and into the net.
The goal snapped the stalemate in the match, and the Vikings tacked on another goal less than three minutes later in the 86th minute, as Hasan and Bianchini combined for a second time in the match. Bianchini made the standout play to create the opportunity this time, as she flicked a ball past a Sacramento State defender deep up the right flank, opening up the field to her. Once with the open field, Bianchini found a wide-open Hasan filling in behind her on the near post, and made the easy pass to Hasan, who fired a quick shot that found the net once again.
Bianchini's second assist to Hasan gave her 10 in her career Portland State, moving her into the all-time top 10 in assists at Portland State, and putting her in the top 10 all-time in goals, assists and points before the end of her junior season. Bianchini moves into a tie for seventh all-time in assists with her two assists Friday, and also now ranks ninth all-time with 30 career points, as well as eighth all-time with 10 career goals.
Additionally, Bianchini's two assists Friday give her five in Big Sky play this season, a total that would have led the conference going into the weekend.
"Cori's been playing very well, really all year, but she's stepped it up in conference," Schott said. "I keep telling her that because she hasn't necessarily been getting the points, the goals, the assists every game, but she's been doing very well. Her contribution was really important today, and has been important during conference play."
Hasan's brace, meanwhile, comes in just her second match back for the Vikings, after she missed six straight matches in the middle of the conference season.
"Tamia being out for awhile was a surprise and it changed our line up a bit, but for her to get a couple goals today really means a lot to her and to our team," Schott said. "She had some great runs and played really well today."
Hasan nearly added a third goal, too, as she again found herself alone against Mata after sprinting past the Sacramento State defense in the 88th minute. Mata saved Hasan's shot this time, however, leaving Hasan just short of recording her first career hat trick at Portland State.
Hasan's and Bianchini's contributions Friday helped bolster another great defensive performance from the Vikings, as Portland State held Sacramento State to just five shots in the match overall. The Hornets made sure their five shots were dangerous ones, though, as all five went on frame, forcing PSU goalkeeper Caitlin Plese to save them. However, the Vikings withstood the Hornets' pressure, giving them their seventh shutout of the season, four of which have come in conference play.
Friday's shutout also gave Plese her 17th career shutout at Portland State, tying her with Cris Lewis for the school record.
Plese will get her first chance at breaking the record in the semifinals of the Big Sky Tournament Friday, Nov. 7. The Vikings' opponent won't be known until the quarterfinals wrap Thursday, but the Vikings know they'll be playing in the first semifinal Friday at 11 a.m. (MT) in Missoula, Mont.
Match Notes: The Vikings improve to 8-10-3 all-time against Sacramento State with Friday's win, and extend their winning streak over the Hornets to four matches…Coupled with the Vikings' 3-1 win over Idaho last Sunday, the Vikings' 2-0 win over the Hornets Friday gives them their best two-match offensive performance of the season…Sacramento State could have potentially earned a playoff spot with a win over the Vikings Friday, but instead fall just short with 12 points in conference play.