Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No winner in Whitman-Whitworth women’s showdown

Merlino (L) finally found the goal for Whitman, who cut off the Pirates all game | Photos: Gerald Barnhart
Twenty-seven seconds. The Whitworth women found a goal against the run of play in the second half of a stalemate with Whitman, but a lapse immediately after the Tiara Pajimola strike allowed the visitors to finally find the back of the net after outshooting the Pirates the entire game by a count of 23-7 as they earned a 1-1 draw in Spokane.

Carly Schilperoort, Whitworth
The Pirates struggled throughout the game to find room to move and had difficulty stringing passes together in the offensive third as the visitors consistently clogged the lanes and intercepted the ball. At the other end, Whitworth’s defense stood just as strong, but the difference throughout the contest was that the Missionaries found open chance after open chance to shoot from 20-30 yards out on goal, forcing several tip saves from goalkeeper Andrea Stump while Whitworth’s first real shot did not come until a half-hour in.

Most of Whitman’s chances narrowly slipped by the post or flew over the bar by inches.

The missed chances allowed the hosts to stay in the game, and finally in the 77th minute a ball forward from Carly Schilperoort on the right side put Pajimola into space on the right side of the box, where she beat the charging keeper Emily Davis from about 15 yards out.

Kelsey Roehner, Whitman
The celebration, though, was short-lived as a turnover in the defensive third allowed a nice combination play to even terms. Kelsey Peck won the ball and played it behind to Kelsey Roehner out on the right side where she crossed the ball in to Clara Merlino, who led the game with six shots, for the finish.

In overtime, the visitors continued with the long chances. In the final minute of the first period a ball dropped back to Peck was rifled just over the bar. In the 104th minute Hallie Swan had a 30-yard effort pushed over the bar by Stump and with three minutes left a 20-yarder from Roehner forced a diving save.

Whitman thought they had a winner in the finals seconds, but the 30-yard shot from Roehner came as the buzzer sounded, negating the goal that came when the ball went through Stump’s hands and over the line.

“We outplayed them; we outworked them,” said Whitman coach John Fleming. “We played all the way through both halves and both overtimes, and pretty unlucky not to have that last goal in the last second – that’s just college rules I guess, right. It’s unfortunate that stats don’t win a game for you, but I am really proud of our team.”