Sunday, October 20, 2013

Whitworth men win big against Pacific Lutheran after scoreless women's contest

The Pirates trek to Oregon next week before returning home | Photos: Gerald Barnhart
The Whitworth men and women both dominated on the day in their doubleheader with visiting Pacific Lutheran University Sunday with the injury-plagued ladies settling for a scoreless draw in the first contest and the men rolling to a 4-1 victory after a three-goal first half performance.

The victory for the men marked the first time the Pirates swept the duo of visiting teams (Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran) since 2005. Though they had lost only three times over the course of those 14 games the last eight years, they missed the sweep on four other occasions due to draws. The bad news on the day, however, was that Puget Sound won 2-0 at Whitman to keep the gap at five points in the table.

Pacific Lutheran 0 :: 0 Whitworth - WOMEN

Back on the pitch for the second consecutive day, the depleted lineup of the Pirates battled to the scoreless draw - the second time this season against PLU - on the stamina and work effort of a starting 11 that played all of the first half and nearly the entire contest with the three substitutes only logging 78 minutes combined.

"They are getting tough," said Whitworth head coach Jael Hagerott. "You train to not be subbed off the field and that is the opportunity they are getting right now, so most of them are playing 90 minutes."

On Sunday, it was 110 with the back line of Jami Hegg, Hannah Langbehn and Hannah Bokma leading the way in the shutout effort as goalkeeper Andrew Stump only needed to make two saves with the Pirates have the advantage in shots, 21-9.

"Today, we played well again. We've had to deal with a little bit of difficult challenges right now with our numbers down," Hagerott said. "They've taken to it well and, honestly, we were unfortunate not to put one in the back of the net today.

"PLU is a tough opponent; they get a lot of ties and they get a lot of ties for a reason. It is sort of like a black wall back there. We had a lot of balls bouncing everywhere but unfortunately it just didn't go in the back of the net for us."

The Lutes defense early on allowed limited chances on goal early on with Aaren Sherpe having the best look of the first half 20 minutes in, launching a shot, as a defender came in to challenge for possession on the loose ball, from about 28 yards that sailed just over the crossbar.

Pacific Lutheran began to find some opportunities of their own in the second half. In the 59th minute Kaylie Rozell fired wide of the goal from the top of the box and four minutes later Hannah Bush crossed into the box to Rozell, but she was unable to find the frame with a defender pressed arriving simultaneous with the ball.

Later in the half a long ball forward put Jamie Hoffman behind the defense, pulling Stump well out of position to challenge, but Hoffman was unable to round the keeper with a good enough angle to get a good shot on goal with Hegg having moved into the goal to provide defensive cover.

Overtime belonged to Whitworth. Six minutes into the first session Megan McCart sent a shot from the top of the box narrowly over and a minutes later Sherpe served the ball from about 35 yards out on the right side into the box where Tiara Pajimola flew in with her leg extended, but the ball glanced offf and went narrowly wide of the left post.

The Whitworth attack continued to press in the second overtime period and four minutes in it looked like would finally have it when a free kick from Hegg on the right flank found Pajimola, but her one-time effort was stopped at the near post by goalkeeper Takara Matsui.

"I was pleased with our weekend," Hagerott said. "I thought we played very well yesterday. That's the nature of soccer; we got three scored against us - errors to deflection shots that [Andrea Stump] could not really do anything about. But, pleased with our effort on the field, particularly after the first 20 minutes of the first half."

Pacific Lutheran 1 :: 4 Whitworth - MEN

While the ladies had a difficult time finding the back of the net, the Pirate men had no trouble at all. In fact, it was slightly more than two minutes into the match that Sam Selisch got the ball about 45 yards out on the right side and proceeded to drive into the inside and then up the middle, eluding several defenders along the way and firing a cross-body shot back inside the right post for the lead.

Sixteen minutes into the match Robby Ubben nearly made it two when a loose ball at the top of the area drew the Pirate striker and the goalkeeper into a race for the ball, but as the two slid in Ubben's effort had no lift, going off Joe Rayburn's legs.

Seven minutes later though, the Pirates would find that second goal when Balin Larson converted a penalty after an excellent play led to the foul that sent him to the spot. Selisch sent a fantastic diagonal ball from just inside the right flank about 45 yards out behind the defense to the left side of the box for Rylan Berriman to run onto. Berriman collected the ball and dished it back to David Starkovich at the top of the box and as he drove back into the area he was tackled hard.

In the 34th minute the Pirates were gifted a three-goal lead created by a lengthy 40-yard free kick from Spencer Wolfe on the right flank. He launched his effort to the middle of the six where Pacific Lutheran's Joe Olenginski rose up to head away, instead sending it backward into his own goal.

Ten minutes into the second half the visiting Lutes worked the ball up the left side and got a nice finish from about 15 yards out by Giancarlo Santoro to pull one back, but that was all they could muster as the Pirates continued to dominate the run of play.

A corner kick in the 69th minute led to Whitworth's fourth. The restart from the left was denied and sent back out to the left flank where Starkovich launched a cross back into the mix, where Sam Engle rose above everyone a few yards out in front of the far post to nod it down past the keeper.

The Pirates nearly had more in the second half with two particularly close chances that were saved nicely by Rayburn. Engle was denied at the post on one chance and Tyler Clark was stopped on a breakaway opportunity.