LSK women win fifth straight championship
Jo Christian Weldingh
With five league matches left to play, Lillestrøm’s women’s soccer team could celebrate their fifth Toppserien league title in a row. With 17 victories in 17 matches this season, there was never a question of if they would win, only a question of when.
After a 4-1 victory against Avaldsnes, Sept. 8, the champions clinched yet another league championship. When the season ended on Nov. 4, Lillestrøm had won the league by 16 points over No. 2 Klepp.
The game against Avaldsnes was as one-sided as one could expect. Ingrid Kvernvolden scored two goals for the league champions. First, she made sure her team could head into the break with a 1-0 lead, then she headed in the goal that increased the lead to 3-0 with 20 minutes to go. In the meantime, Sophie Romàn Haug had scored Lillestrøm’s second goal. Gaëlle Enganamouit gave Avaldsnes a small hope when she pounded the ball into the net from 35 yards, but that hope disappeared completely when Sigrdtur Gardarsdottir scored and made the result 4-1.
“It feels a bit unreal,” Lillestrøm’s Ingrid Wold said after the game. “We’re not surprised by becoming league champions again. We’ve expected that for a while, but we are surprised about the fact that we have done it with five games left to play. We’re actually a bit disappointed that we won’t get the chance to celebrate the championship on our home grounds… but we’ll make a celebration out of it anyway.”
With the gold medal secured, the team set a new goal: to go the whole season undefeated. “The fact that we’ve already won doesn’t matter, we’re still super motivated,” Wold said to NRK.
That dream ended on Oct. 21 when Kirsty Yallop’s 67th-minute goal lifted Klepp to a 3-2 victory over Lillestrøm, ending Lillestrøm’s 28-game unbeaten streak. Elisabeth Terland and Tameka Butt scored the other goals for Klepp, while Kvernvolden and Guro Reiten tallied for Lillestrøm. On Oct. 27, Lillestrøm drew 0-0 with Sandviken. They finished off the season with a 6-2 rout of RØA as Reiten scored twice and Haug, Kvernvolden, Anja Sonstevold, and Ingrid Syrstad Engen once.
LSK finished with 20 wins, one draw, one tie for 61 points, shy of the league record for points. Still, they dominated this year’s Toppserien like no other team has ever done before. Avaldsnes finished in ninth place out of 12 teams, 40 points behind Lillestrøm. LSK outscored its opponents 71-15. Third-place Arna-Bjørnar was the next highest-scoring team with 53 goals, while Klepp had 39. Three Lillestrøm players finished in double digits in goals, led by Reiten with a remarkable 21, which included four against Trondheims-Ørn on May 5, and four two-goal games. Haug finished with 14 tallies and Kvernvolden 10 as the trio finished among the top eight scorers in the league. Their 45 combined goals were better than the team total for 10 of the 12 sides in the league.
Lillestrøm will play Sandviken for the Norway Cup on Dec. 1, and also play in next year’s Champions League, facing Barcelona in the quarterfinal on the in March 2019.
Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, and lives in Oslo. He has a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Oslo and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from BI Norwegian Business School.
This article originally appeared in the November 30, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.