The nation’s top-ranked defense once again stepped up to the challenge as Western Washington defeated Flagler College of Florida 2-0 on Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh to advance to Saturday’s NCAA Division II women’s soccer national championship game.

The third-seeded Vikings (23-2) won their 19th consecutive game and recorded their fifth shutout of the NCAA Championships. WWU will play Grand Valley State, a 3-2 winner over Saint Rose in the early game, on Saturday.

WWU entered the game with the nation’s best goals-against average of 0.330 and went up against the No. 2 scoring team in the nation. In the end, it was the Vikings who set a program record with their 18th clean sheet of the season.

Second-seeded Flagler (23-1-1) lost its first game of the season.

WWU outshot Flagler 17-11 and held a 9-5 advantage in shots on goal. Vikings goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx made five saves.

Midfielder Grace Eversaul scored in the ninth minute for Western and midfielder Jordyn Bartelson scored in the 84th minute.

UW’s Bodily, Bartlow honored

For just the second time in program history, Washington saw two players on the United Soccer Coaches All-American teams as junior Blake Bodily earned first-team honors and sophomore Ethan Bartlow was named to the second team.

Bodily, a junior midfielder from Eagle, Idaho, becomes just the third Husky to earn first-team honors, joining Taylor Peay (2013) and CJ. Klaas (2003, 2004). Bodily had a banner season in 2019, scoring a team-best 12 goals and adding six assists to become Washington’s first 30-point scorer in 13 years.

Bartlow, a sophomore defender from Woodinville, helped the Huskies record 12 shutouts, surrender just 14 goals and finish ninth in the NCAA with a 0.66 goals-against average.

Auto racing

Jason Fraser of Snohomish captured the GT Challenge class at the National Auto Sport Association’s renowned 25 Hours of Thunderhill on Dec. 7-8 in Willows, Calif.

The endurance race at Thunderhill Raceway Park featured amateur and professional race teams. Fraser’s Frasun Racing team turned 635 laps on the 3-mile-long road course, logging 1,905 miles during the endurance race.

John Hill of Seattle captured the E1 class. Hill’s FLIR Vision Racing team turned 590 laps, logging 1,770 miles.