Sept. 27, 2008
Whitman Beats PLU to Move Into NWC Lead
WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Whitman goalkeeper Brett Axelrod recorded his fourth shotout of the season and the Missionaries took sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference with a 2-0 men's soccer victory over Pacific Lutheran on Saturday afternoon at the Whitman Athletic Fields.
Whitman ran its Northwest Conference record to 3-0 and its season mark to 5-0-4. Pacific Lutheran slipped to 0-1-1 in conference and 2-4-1 overeall.
Pacific Lutheran had the run of play in a first half that was lacking in serious scoring threats. Eight minutes into the second half, however, freshman Sam Freedman beat a PLU defender around the left corner and hammered a low cross to the near post, where onrushing Todd Wallenius finished for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
With the game winding down toward the 10-minute mark, the Lutes turned up the pressure. But Axelrod, after sliding to beat Ricky Morales to a loose ball on the left side of the box, punched away Derek Karamatic's open shot from the same area, and Nat Breitenberg's header off a PLU corner kick was blocked.
On Whitman's next possession, with less than nine minutes left, Jason Shon sent a long penalty kick into the 18-yard box, where it bounced from Joe Johnson to Cole Rathjen to the back of the net for a 2-0 Missionary lead. It was Rathjen's second goal of the season.
Whitman had lost its last four games to Pacific Lutheran by the same 1-0 score and had not beaten the Lutes since October of 2001. Since then, head coach John Yorke had led the Lutes to a 11-0-1 record against the Missionaries.
Whitman outshot Pacific Lutheran 17-11 for the game, although the Lutes finished with a 6-3 edge in shots on goal.
The Lutes return to action on Sunday afternoon when they play Whitworth, which saw its NWC record fall to 2-1 with 1-0 overtime loss to Puget Sound on Saturday.
(Courtesy of Whitman Sports Information Office)