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Freshman Niki Claussen scores three goals in four minutes

October 19, 2002

by James J. Portune

Olympia, WA - To say that forward Niki Claussen (Shelton, WA/Shelton HS) single handedly dismantled Oregon Tech would be disrespectful to the other members of the Evergreen State Women's Soccer team. For it was their team effort that provided the opportunity for Claussen.

The fact remains, though, that in this lopsided 5-0 victory by the Evergreen (8-4 CCC, 8-7 Overall) Claussen was in the right place at the right time to score four of the Geoducks five goals against visiting Oregon Tech (2-8 CCC, 5-9 Overall).

With the win and Albertson's victory at home over Warner Pacific today, Evergreen has assured itself a spot in the Cascade Conference post-season tournament.

Evergreen Head Coach Arlene McMahon summarized the game by simple stating that, "the team controlled the temp for 60 minutes."

With help from junior midfielder AJ Fairburn (Tacoma, WA/Stadium HS), Claussen found the back of the net less than seven minutes into the game.

Sophomore Tiffany Fenster (Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) made her 21st goal of the season in the 37th minute. Heather Gordon (Walnut Creek, CA/Anocortes HS) started the action with a midfield pass to Claussen on the right wing. On the bounce, Claussen redirected the ball across the front of Oregon Tech's goal and Fenster headed it in on the backside, to put Evergreen ahead 2-0. Claussen's three remaining goals all came in the second period in a span of three and a half minutes.

First Gordon, followed by Jackie Schlindwein (Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS) and finally Fairburn each knifed a pass between the Owls defense that left Claussen one-on-one with Oregon Tech goalkeeper and Claussen finished the play with a goal each time.

"Niki worked very hard today to be in the right place when it was needed," explained Coach McMahon.

The 5-0 victory gave freshman Crystal Vanderhoof (Tenino, WA/Tenino HS), in only her second start in goal, her first college shutout.

When asked whether Vanderhoof was finally getting comfortable in goal, Coach McMahon, a former college goalkeeper herself, remarked, "no field player ever is comfortable going into the goal."

Through the middle of the regular season Evergreen has played some remarkable soccer.

In the last thirty days they have been victorious in seven of nine games, scoring 38 goals and allowing only 14.

Wednesday (Oct 23), Evergreen will host their final home game, this one against Western Baptist. The game will be played on Field 4, also referred to as 'Campo de Quatro', and is scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m.