“I’m right-footed, so I’m obviously going to look to cut in,” explained sophomore midfielder Christina Dickson. “And I just took a touch and saw that shot.”
It was her second goal of the night. On a pass from Emma Pringle, Dickson made an excellent kick that went just over Northwest Nazarene’s goalkeeper. Her two-goal output helped lead to a 3–0 SFU victory Thursday evening on home turf.
If you didn’t know any better, it would have looked like the output of a prolific scorer. But they were actually her first two of the year.
“I know she felt a lot of pressure and she put a lot of pressure on herself to score goals and get on the scoresheet,” said head coach Annie Hamel.
Dickson, however, was quick to give credit to the team for her offensive output.
“It was definitely the team,” she explained. “We just need to keep playing games like this, just working for each other.”
And if there’s one thing to notice in the past two games, goal scoring has become a team effort. Combining the 6–0 victory Saturday and Thursday’s 3–0 victory, there was a total of six different goal scorers.
In the seven games previous, Pringle had five of the team’s six goals. But the lack of scoring, and the pressure on one player to provide the offence, was a problem.
“That’s what I’ve been waiting on,” Hamel remarked on the secondary scoring. “You need to understand how difficult it is now for Emma Pringle to get on the scoresheet because everybody knows about her, everybody does their scouting, everybody double marks her, she’s followed everywhere she goes, everybody plays very physical on her.
“It’s creating opportunities for the players around her, and before they didn’t step up into that, and now they are. So when you get a scouting report on our team, now you can’t just say, ‘mark number 10, mark Emma Pringle.’ You have to be accountable for everybody else around her, which makes us a very difficult team to defend against.”
This was only the fourth game this season that Pringle did not pick up a goal. However, she did get a primary assist on Dickson’s second goal.
“And now they all want to join the party,” laughed Hamel. “They all ended up getting very aggressive in the last third and taking shots.”
Dickson’s second with 13:46 left in the game likely sealed any chance that Northwest Nazarene could come back. Freshman forward Katelyn Erhardsen put the cherry on top, scoring the Clan’s third goal with exactly 11 minutes left, making it the second straight game in which she has scored.
Sophomore midfielder Samantha Donald also put up an assist on the team’s first goal.
“We just need to keep playing games like this, just working for each other.”
Goalkeeper Priya Sandhu only faced two shots on net, but was perfect for her fifth shutout of the season. (NOTE: Sandhu has played six games in which she hasn’t let in a goal, however, because she only played 80:15 in Saturday’s 6–0 win, she is not credited with a shutout.)
“I thought we had a bit of a slow start in the first half, and even coming out 1–0 at half, I thought that was a bit under expectations for us. We wanted to have a really strong start and put this game away early, so it took a little longer,” said Hamel. “But when they got going in the second half, it was really good rhythm and tempo, and some very good finishes.”
With the victory, SFU slotted into fourth place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) with a 3–2–0 conference record, and now holds a playoff spot. But the team can’t sit back: six of the seven remaining games are against teams below them in the standings and in the hunt for that last playoff spot. The secondary scoring will have to be more than just a two-game fad.
SATURDAY: SFU takes on Montana State University Billings (MSUB) at 12 p.m. MSUB sits at sixth in the GNAC with a 2–2–1 record. With an SFU loss, MSUB would leapfrog over SFU, and pending a Concordia game — which is in fifth — on October 20, SFU could fall two spots back in the rankings.
Rankings are determined by points, and a win is three points, while a tie counts for one. SFU has nine, MSUB seven, and Concordia eight, with the same number of games played.
Should SFU win, they would move up to second place. However, the jump in standings could be short-lived as third placed Central Washington (3–1–1) plays October 9, and would take second place with a win.
MSUB is coming off of two consecutive 3–0 shutout losses. The Yellowjackets are eighth in the GNAC for goals per game (0.90) and are sixth in goals against average (1.72). SFU sits at fourth in goals per game with 1.67, and are fifth in goals against average (0.76).