After Road Split, Lutes Return Home for Two Matches
THIS WEEK: After a road trip to eastern Washington last weekend, the Lutes will host George Fox University and Pacific (Ore.) University in the coming weekend. PLU plays George Fox at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and then takes on conference-leading Pacific at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Both matches will be played on the PLU soccer field.
LISTEN LIVE: Both of this weekend's home soccer matches can be heard live on www.golutes.com. Click on the Listen Live button and follow the link.
WATCH OUT FOR THE BRUINS: The Lutes, 2-2 in Northwest Conference play, will look to recover after a tough loss away to Whitworth which left them in the middle of the conference table. On Saturday, PLU hosts George Fox University, which is currently 0-5-1 overall and 0-4 in conference. The Lutes hold an overall record of 24-9-1 against the Bruins, but were upset last year in their first meeting of the 2009 season, 2-1. That defeat, and the resulting loss of three points inthe conference standing, proved crucial as the Lutes finished second by two points to eventual 2009 NWC champion Whitworth.
THESE BOXERS HAVE A PUNCH...AND DEFEND: On Sunday, it will be a showdown of NWC powers when Pacific (Ore.) comes to PLU. The Boxers are 8-0-1 overall in 2010, and are undefeated in four conference matches, putting them atop the table. Pacific has climbed to 11th in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com Division III Rankings. Pacific also jumped into D3soccer.com's men's soccer poll at No. 25. The Boxers received 44 votes and are making their first appearance in that poll this season. The Boxers remained third in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com West Region poll, behind co-leaders Trinity (Texas) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.). The Boxers have out-scored their foes 23-7 this season, and there is balance there with five players scoring at least three goals led by Kizamu Tsutakawa's five. Pacific is especially strong defensively, led by massive 6-5, 210-pound first team all-conference keeper Andrew Stevermer (0.79 goals against average). The Lutes and Boxers split the 2009 season series with each winning at home. All-time, the Lutes have a 33-11-4 record against Pacific. If the Lutes can win both games this weekend, they will take a big step back into the upper echelon of the conference standings. Currently, Pacific has 12 points (4-0-0), followed by Whitworth and Puget Sound with seven (2-1-1), and then PLU, Linfield and Whitman with six points (2-2-0).
WHITWORTH 4, PLU 3: Nic Shaw's goal off of Cameron Bushey's corner kick in the 62nd minute proved to be the match winner as Whitworth held off visiting Pacific Lutheran, 4-3, in a Northwest Conference men's soccer match played on Sunday afternoon at the Whitworth Soccer Field. The Pirates (5-2-1 overall, 2-1-1 NWC) twice took two-goal leads against the Lutes (3-5-1, 2-2), only to see PLU answer within a minute with a goal of its own. The back-and-forth match was a gem to watch, but a heartbreaker for the PLU team as they allowed all four goals off of set-pieces or crosses into the box. The Pirates finished the match with a 14-9 edge in shots, including a 6-4 advantage in shots on goal. Whitworth took nine corner kicks to PLU's four.
PLU 3, WHITMAN 0: With three first half goals on Saturday, the Pacific Lutheran University men's soccer team won 3-0 away to the Whitman College Missionaries in Northwest Conference action. Goals from Chad Kearns, Surafel Wodajo, and Spencer Augustin propelled the Lutes to victory. Freshman Joe Rayburn earned the shutout in goal for the Lutes, facing eight shots on goal, saving all of them.
KEARNS LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: Chad Kearns, a junior forward out of Roosevelt High School in Seattle, is lighting up the scoreboard for the Lutes. Kearns has nine goals through PLU's first nine matches, three goals more than any other player in the Northwest Conference. In addition, Kearns has contributed three assists, giving him 21 total points (two for a goal, one for an assist), again easily leading the conference.
LET'S GO SURFIN': Known for his deft touch and skill on the ball, junior midfielder Surafel Wodajo (just call him Surf) leads all Northwest Conference men's soccer players with six assists. The native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by way of Lindbergh High School in Renton, has also scored three goals this season for a total of 12 points.
OFFENSE NOT THE PROBLEM: Offense hasn't been the problem this season as the Lutes have tallied 21 total goals in their nine matches. Where they have struggled is on the defensive end, where they have allowed 17 goals through nine matches. That is an unusually high number of goals allowed for a program has allowed fewer than 20 goals three times in the last four seasons. The Lutes are still trying to figure out how to get along without third team All-America center back Derek MacLean, who graduated last year.
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