Vikings Sports Season Off to Good Start

CHICAGO, IL (September 13, 2011) – In a battle between two of the nation’s best Division III men’s soccer teams, North Park tied University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods Saturday afternoon.

The Vikings came in ranked No. 20 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll and the Titans sat at No. 8. North Park went to Oshkosh looking to avenge last year’s 2-0 loss to the Titans in the second round of the NCAA tournament on the same field.

Oshkosh jumped out to a quick lead, scoring in the fourth minute and dominating the rest of the half. Senior Kris Grahn’s goal in the 77th minute tied the game.

In other sports action, the football team earned its second straight victory of the season with a 38-20 win over host Benedictine University. The victory marked the first time the Vikings have started the season 2-0 since the 2005 season, when they opened the year with a 3-0 record.

North Park racked up 430 yards of total offense. Sophomore Chris Broadway ran for two touchdowns, and senior Sam Cochiaro opened the game with an 88-yard kickoff return, the sixth longest kick return for a touchdown in North Park football history.

North Park (2-0) heads into a bye this week before returning home to wrap up its non-conference schedule with Washington University-St. Louis September 24 at 1 p.m.

The Viking volleyball team earned the tournament championship at its own NPU Invite over the weekend, finishing with a 4-0 record.

After the Vikings opened the second round of play with a 25-18, 25-21, 25-16 victory behind a nine-kill performance from sophomore Shelby Switzer, they faced their toughest competition of the tournament in the final match against Hamline University. Hamline took North Park to five sets.

The Vikings won the first two sets 29-27 and 25-16, but the Pipers fought back into the match taking the next two sets 25-21 and 25-10. North Park got the better of its visitors in the final set though, winning 15-7 to capture the tourney title.

Freshman Aurora Johansen continued to put up solid numbers in the assist category again and may be garnering national attention soon as she dished out 30 assists. Switzer was named the tournament MVP and earned All-Tournament honors, while sophomore Tricia Ivanoff earned All-Tournament team honors as well.

North Central finished second in the tournament with a 3-1 record, followed by Hamline at 3-1, Concordia (2-2), Aurora (1-3), and Marian (0-4).

North Park (7-3) is off to its best start under third-year coach Tim Walenga. The Vikings return to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday (tonight) when they open College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin play with Carthage College at home.

It was a tough weekend for the women’s soccer team. They lost 5-1 to University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Friday. Devin Garcia put in the Vikings’ only goal at the 58th minute. On Sunday, they dropped their match to UW-Stout 2-1. Annika Johnson scored for the Vikings in the 84th minute.

The Vikings (1-3-1) hope to notch their second victory when they host Principia at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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