Coming Off Huge Weekend, Lutes Ready For Revenge
THIS WEEK: After sweeping it's trip of Eastern Washington, the Pacific Lutheran University men's soccer team faces two teams that have kept the Lutes from postseason play in the last couple years. George Fox University and Pacific (Ore.) University visit PLU this weekend as the Lutes try to keep first place in Parkland. After a memorable weekend east of the Cascades, the Lutes will look to continue their success in NWC play versus these two tough conference opponents.
WHAT'S BREWIN' WITH THE BRUINS: Coming off a 2010 season that saw the George Fox University Bruins go winless in all 17 of their games, expectations of success for the Lutes are high this weekend entering Saturday's matchup. The Bruins have already bested their record from a year ago, starting the season 2-5-1 overall, 0-3-1 in conference play, and scoring eight goals. In the 2010 campaign, the Bruins only scored five goals, with one coming against the Lutes in an 8-1 victory for PLU in late October. Led by forward Luke Hammer, who has scored four goals and added an assist this season, the Bruins look to be a stronger side than the Lutes saw in 2010. Last weekend, George Fox tied Linfield College 1-1 and lost 3-0 to Willamette, keeping them in a last place tie with Linfield. The Lutes dominate the all-time series, carrying an overall record of 26-9-1 in the 21-year history between the schools. In 2009, the Bruins shocked the Northwest Conference when they defeated the Lutes 2-1 at home, helping to keep the Lutes from winning the NWC title and advancing to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
GETTING TO KNOW THE BOXERS: The success of the Pacific Boxers in 2010 was one that took some in the NWC by surprise, though the veteran-led team had shown signs of building toward a potential breakout season. After finishing the campaign 14-3-3, 10-2-2 in NWC play, with a 3-1 loss to West Region power Trinity University (Texas) in the first round of the national tournament, the Boxers were thought to repeat with success in 2011. Slated by the NWC coaches to finish second in the conference behind PLU this season, Pacific began 2011 by losing six straight, all at home, before finding two wins this past weekend against Willamette and Linfield. It should be noted that the Boxers lost 10 starters from a year ago, including three First Team All-NWC selections in Mike Iacolucci, Jasem Jaihouni, and NWC Defensive Player of the Year, Andrew Stevermer, so perhaps it wasn't too unlikely that the team would have a rough start. Still, losing six straight caught a lot of folks by surprise, perhaps no group more than the Pacific players themselves. Thus far, the Boxers have managed to score just seven goals. The Boxers lone returning starter, Patrick Murray, has scored four of those goals in his six starts this season, with three of them coming this past weekend. In 2010, the Lutes lost a heartbreaker at Pacific with just six seconds left in double-overtime on a controversial free-kick call that led to the Boxers winning the game 2-1, and eventually the NWC crown. The bitter taste of defeat still lingers for the Lutes as they prepare for the showdown with the Boxers come Sunday. The Lutes are 34-12-4 all-time against the Boxers, but the teams have split the past four matches played.
MEMORABLE ROAD WINS: The wins against Whitman College and Whitworth University this past weekend are ones that must be remembered for their rarity and brilliance. It was the first time since 2007 that a NWC team had beaten both Whitman and Whitworth in Eastern Washington in the same weekend. The 2007 team that accomplished the feat was none other than the PLU Lutes, with Lute alum Derek Karamatic netting the winner in overtime against Whitworth, and Daniel Mangum and Brian Lubeck making incredible saves in defense to secure victory. The current senior class for the Lutes had never won at Whitworth before Sunday, marking a fitting end to their careers in Eastern Washington.
PLU 1, WHITWORTH 0: Spencer Augustin scored the game's only goal in the 12th minute and goalkeeper Joe Rayburn came up with some big saves as Pacific Lutheran defeated Whitworth, 1-0, in a Northwest Conference men's soccer match played here Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Lutes improved their overall record to 6-2, and they also moved into a first-place tie with Whitworth and Puget Sound atop the conference standings, all at 3-1. Augustin scored his second winning goal in as many matches. On Saturday, he ended an overtime tussle with Whitman to give PLU a 3-2 win. In this match, he tallied an unassisted goal at the 11:39 mark for the only score. Augustin finished with five of PLU's 10 shots, with four of them taken by Chad Kearns and the other byAlex Schisel. Whitworth goalkeeper Brian Sherpe came up with five saves in the match, but the one he didn't get decided the outcome. The goal was the sixth of the season for Augustin, who trails Kearns by one for the team lead. Whitworth managed one more shot than PLU, but it had the same number on goal. Rayburn, PLU's sophomore keeper, finished with six saves in recording his third shutout of the season. His final save came in the final seconds when he stopped an effort by Kekoa Mountcastle. "He had a great match today," PLU head coach John Yorke said of Rayburn.
PLU 3, WHITMAN 2 (OT): Trailing 2-0 at halftime, Pacific Lutheran put together a second half rally before beating host Whitman, 3-2 in overtime, in Northwest Conference men's soccer action Saturday afternoon at the Whitman Athletic Fields. Senior forward Spencer Augustin struck the game-winning blow in the fifth minute of overtime, dribbling through the right side of the Whitman defense to send a ball to the left corner of the net. Pacific Lutheran left town with records of 2-1 in the NWC and 5-2 overall. Whitman, also 2-1 in conference, slipped to 2-2-2 on the season. The win was the 100th for Pacific Lutheran head coach John Yorke, now in his 10th season at his alma mater. The Missionaries had the game in hand in the first half, scoring their two goals in the first 23 minutes en route to a 9-2 shot advantage by halftime. Whitman also had a 5-2 edge in corner kicks over the first 45 minutes, but Pacific Lutheran keeper Joe Rayburn made three saves to keep the Missionaries from pulling away. Sophomore Junpei Tsuji put Whitman on the scoreboard in the game's third minute, drilling his first goal of the season with an assist from senior Sam Freedman. Junior Jed Clark, assisted by junior Andrew Clark, made it 2-0 Whitman in the 23rd minute. The Lutes kicked off their second-half comeback when Mark Lee hit his first goal of the season, Surafel Wodajo assisting on the play. It was Wodajo's turn to score in the 74th minute, tying the game at 2-2. Whitman took the next five shots, but it was Missionary keeper Michael Bathurst who made a save in the closing seconds of regulation, deflecting a shot from Augustin, to send the game to overtime. Whitman took two of the first three shots in overtime before Augustin worked his game-winning magic.
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