Sunday, October 21, 2012

Whitworth Pirates down George Fox in doubleheader, 2-1 and 6-0

Reserves celebrate final strike; Pajimola & Grow after opener; French enjoys brace | Photos: Gerald Barnhart
Much like the day before, the Whitworth Pirates controlled the play in both contests Sunday. Despite another dominant performance, the ladies again earned a narrow one-goal decision over George Fox with a 2-1 victory on a third straight winner from Hannah Bokma while the men cruised to a big lead, and for the second consecutive day finished the match off with reserves on the field as they battered the Bruins in a 6-0 romp.

George Fox University 1 :: 2 Whitworth University – WOMEN

The first half of the contest was the Tiara Pajimola (Spokane, WA) show. The freshman was flying all over the field on the cool afternoon, giving George Fox fits defensively.

Tiara Pajimola, Whitworth
It looked like a long ball in the 23rd minute was going to pay off when she rose up in the box to meet it only to see the keeper snare the ball inches from her head, but moments later all of her movement would finally pay off.  Mackenzie Grow (Spokane, WA) played a ball forward to Pajimola, who drove about 10 yards with the ball, crossing into the area and slipping it past Ally Swanson from about 14 yards to give Whitworth the lead.

Three minutes later Pajimola nearly helped double the lead on a corner when she delivered the dead ball to Hannah Bokma (Spokane, WA), who headed the ball down at the near post only to see a defender knock it away at the last second.

Despite controlling the play and ultimately outshooting the visitors 19-8, the Pirates were unable to put the Bruins away. In the 57th minute another chance to double the lead went for naught when Grow drove up the midfield and fired toward the upper left corner from 25 yards that forced a nice save from Swanson.

Alicia Wong, George Fox
About three minutes later Alicia Wong began to present problems for the Whitworth defense. Her first chance in the 61st minute came on a great individual effort in which she drove from midfield to the left side of the box before turning back and returning to the middle where she unleashed a shot from the top of the box that caromed off the crossbar near the far corner of the woodwork.

Two minutes later a ball well behind the defense put Pajimola on a run but Swanson charged outside the box fully dedicated and the two crashed into one another hard when they met at the ball with the keeper coming in on the tackle, sending Pajimola flying and leaving her sprawled out for a few moments before getting up and walking away unharmed.

And just a minute later Pajimola nearly found her second of the match when a ball came to her just off of the penalty spot, but her rushed effort from 14 yards slid narrowly wide of the right post.

The missed chances came back to haunt the Pirates as Wong finally found some success for George Fox. A ball whipped on goal from a tight angle on the right side by Esther Harder forced the only save on the day from Andrea Stump, but the rebound fell to Wong on the doorstep for the putaway with 13 minutes remaining.

Hannah Bokma, Whitworth
The lead, though, was short-lived courtesy of another fantastic effort from Pajimola. Whitworth’s answer five minute later began with a ball up from right back Carly Schilperoort  along the touchline that was kept in by Pajimola just past midfield. Despite overrunning the touch line in the desperate run to keep it in, the striker turned and charged past one defender and caught up to the ball, cutting in front of a second defender at the edge of the box to reclaim the ball. From there she drove a few yards before sending a well-driven low cross to Bokma, stretched out to get her foot on the ball, unintentionally popping it up over the drawn out goalkeeper and over the line for the game-winner.

It was the third consecutive clinching goal for Bokma, who scored the lone goal in the previous two 1-0 decisions, tallying in overtime time yesterday and late in the second half the week before.

Elsewhere in the Northwest Conference, two of the other one-loss teams squared off against one another with Linfield prevailing 2-1 against Puget Sound, leaving them and the Pirates alone at the top at 9-1-2. Whitworth, however, still plays both sides. They travel to neutral host Central Washington in Ellensburg October 31 to make up the lost game last Saturday due to no referees and will play host to Linfield in the season finale November 3.

George Fox University 0 :: 6 Whitworth University – MEN

The men’s contest was essentially over after 13 minutes, and an early effort from about 20 yards from Sam Selisch that soared past the upper left corner in the first seconds of the contest proved to be the warning shot.

Robby Ubben, Whitworth
About eight minutes in, it became apparent that corners were going to be an issue for the visitors when Mike Chavez (Kennewick, WA) found the head of Robby Ubben, who snapped the ball down from the edge of the six to the near post only to see it cleared away at the last second.

But the ensuing corner, however, was nearly a replay. Ubben again rose above everyone and got his head on it, but this time he didn’t fully connect on it and the ball down in the box created a scramble which ended with defender Balin Larson knocking it over the line from close range.

“We hadn’t scored on a corner kick since we played them I don’t think – that’s how we scored (in the 1-0 win) when we were there so it was good balance to go in to get us off the mark,” said Whitworth head coach Sean Bushey. 

Less than five minutes later Sam Engle drove a ball into the box that Ubben beat the keeper to, lifting it over the charging keeper to double the lead.

From there the contest was completely in Whitworth’s hands and as it wore on the frustrated visitors began to turn it into a game that more closely resembled a rugby match.

Andrew French, Whitworth
It did not matter though as Whitworth continued to move the ball around with ease, and in the first eight minutes of the second half pushed the contest well out of reach with two well-taken goals from Andrew French.

“Frenchy’s two goals in the second half were important in killing the game off,” said Bushey.

The first came just four minutes into the period on a great build up from Kekoa Mountcastle and Sam Selisch. Selisch found him again four minutes later for a breakaway goal, his third of the weekend.

From there the Bruins began accumulating yellows nearly as quickly as the Pirates were scoring, including a pair to Taran Girard, which gave a reserve-laden Whitworth side even more run of play in the final quarter-hour.

The reserves, some of whom also saw time the day before, picked up where French left off. Ryan Wood set up the final two goals, connecting with Mountcastle in the 81st minute and delivering a corner to Nathan Fosket in the final few seconds of the match for a header past GFU reserve keeper Arlo Powell (Rexburg, ID).

“It’s neat to see. Guys work hard throughout and that’s why we do well; because it’s the whole team that does it,” Bushey said about getting the reserve players in over the final two home games. “Not everybody always gets the game time reward so it’s nice when we are able to do it. It’s neat to see them play, and see ‘em play well. It was good to see the seniors off, and they all got significant time. They contributed a lot over the years and so it was neat to see them play.”

With second-place Pacific Lutheran falling on the road to Linfield, 3-1, the unbeaten Pirates, who have three games remaining, saw their cushion nearly double to seven over the Lutes, who must win out in their final three games against Pacific University, George Fox and third-place Puget Sound to have a chance.

“He’s a good friend of mine, but I don’t mind if he loses to get a little easier,” Bushey kidded about his PLU counterpart John Yorke coming up short today. “It’s a seven point lead so not quite three games, so that would just need another win in a sense.”

The loss definitely eased the burden down the stretch for Whitworth as they face their longest trip of the conference campaign with the two-game set next weekend at Willamette and Linfield before wrapping things up at Whitman.

“We look forward to it. It will be a difficult challenge, obviously, if someone can beat PLU like a Linfield – and I know Willamette’s game was close yesterday (versus PLU) and today with UPS. It’s difficult opponents in Oregon and it’s away so we neat to prepare to be better and seek to get three more points and see this thing off.”