Lutes Wrap Up Historic Season, Focus On Repeat Next Year
SEASON IN REVIEW: As the Pacific Lutheran University men's soccer team calls 2011 quits, a look back at this season reveals how historic and special it was for the Lutes. With a returning front six that led the Northwest Conference last season, it was no surprise when the offense flowed steadily from the Lutes in 2011. This season proved to be the most successful season for coach John Yorke in his 10-year career at PLU, and it saw the Lutes make their first NCAA Division III national tournament in program history.
PLUGGING THE HOLES: After graduating only five players from 2010, and two regular starters, the Lutes came into this season needing to fill a center back spot that would be crucial to winning the Northwest Conference title. Freshman Kevin Wien stepped in immediately to secure the Lute back line, starting 16 games, scoring two goals, and earning Honorable Mention All-NWC. In just his first collegiate season, Wien has the potential of becoming one of the best center backs in the NWC. Another area left void from a year ago was a consistent center-midfield pairing. With the graduation of Daniele Zaccagnini, the Lutes needed to find a happy medium between defensive toughness and offensive creativity. Shane Gutierrez and Joe Olenginski stepped up for the Lutes, creating the perfect recipe for success. While neither rewrote the record books with fantastic goals or perfectly placed assists, their impact ran deep into the Lute squad and across the NWC. Each was recognized by the conference coaches, with Gutierrez earning Second Team All-NWC and Olenginski being named to the Honorable Mention All-NWC team this season.
OFFENSIVE ONSLAUGHT: After a 2010 season that saw the Lutes dominate the offensive statistics in the NWC, further success in front of goal was expected this year. With senior Spencer Augustin returning to full form, and Chad Kearns and Surafel Wodajo also lacing up the boots in 2011, the Lutes were poised from the start to own the competition. The Lutes scored 56 goals this season, breaking the previous PLU single-season scoring record and tallying the most goals a NWC team has scored since the 2005 Whitworth Pirates scored 68 en route to a Final Four appearance in the NCAA Division III national tournament. The Lutes had the three top point-earners in the conference (Augustin-46; Kearns-33; Wodajo-24), three of the top five scorers, and the top assist earner. The Lutes had six games where they won by three or more goals, including a 6-0 away victory to 2010 NWC champion, Pacific (Ore.) University.
BREAKING RECORDS: This season saw a plethora of team and individual records broken for single-season and career marks. Listed below are the records the Lutes set in the 2011 season.
|Best Winning Percentage||.789 (15-4-0)||.781 (12-3-1)
|Most Wins in a Season||15||14
|Fewest Losses in a Season (While in NCAA)
|Most Consecutive Wins||11||8
|Longest Unbeaten Streak||11||8
|Most Goals in a Season||56|
|Most Assists in a Season||44|
|Spencer Augustin (Single-Season Points)||46||42
(Mark Stockwell - 1981;
Brian Gardner - 1988;
Kevin Murray - 2005)
|Surafel Wodajo (Single-Season Assists)||16||13
(Jay Pettit - 2003)
(Jay Pettit - 2002-05)
|Chad Kearns (Game-Winning Goals- Season)||6||6
(Mike Ferguson - 2004-07)
|(Career Game-Winning Goals)||17||15
(Mike Ferguson - 2004-07)
On top of the records the 2011 Lutes set, many of the 2011 players made the single-season or career top 10 lists. With his 19 goals, Spencer Augustin tied for second in single-season goals behind Mark Stockwell's 21 goals set in 1981. Augustin also placed seventh in single-season assists (8) and sixth in game-winning goals (4). Augustin ended up finishing fifth in career goals (35), sixth in career assists (18), and fifth in career points (88) and game-winning goals (7). Chad Kearns finished his remarkable Lute career by placing eighth in single-season points (33) this year, and third in career goals (41) and career points (96). Surafel Wodajo also finishes his storied career by placing ninth in career points (67). Breaking a somewhat unusual record in 2011 was PLU assistant coach Peter Voiles. Voiles set the career mark for golf balls found this season when he collected his 2,536th golf ball next to the PLU soccer field. This record will stand the test of time because the PLU golf course is no longer in existence.
The three-headed offensive monster the Lutes had this season passed many former PLU greats in breaking these records, including current Lute assistant coach Jamie Bloomstine. Kearns, Augustin, and Wodajo all passed Bloomstine in career points (66). Augustin and Kearns also surpassed the '90's legend in career goals, career points, and career game-winning goals.
NATIONAL TOURNAMENT: The Lutes made the NCAA Division III national tournament for the first time in program history this season. Since joining the NCAA in 1996, the Lutes have come within one game of clinching a bid on several different occasions, just for it to slip away in the final weeks. The Lutes made the NAIA national tournament in 1992, but the feat had not been accomplished by the men's soccer program in NCAA until this season. Unfortunately, the Lutes bowed out in the first round of the tourney to a strong University of Redlands squad. The 4-1 defeat sufferred against Redlands was the worst loss the Lutes sustained all season.
ALL-NWC TEAMS: In the newly released All-Northwest Conference list, the Pacific Lutheran University men's soccer team placed an astounding 11 players on the three teams. Leading the Lutes on First Team All-NWC were seniors Spencer Augustin, Chad Kearns, and Surafel Wodajo and junior Greg Noll. Augustin (19 goals, nine assists) and Kearns (13 goals, seven assists) teamed up to make the most lethal forward pairing in the conference, and combined to lead virtually every offensive category. Kearns makes the first team for the third consecutive season, and Augustin makes the team for the first time as a Lute. Wodajo makes the First Team for the second consecutive season after his 16 assists in 2011 eclipsed all competition in the NWC. Joining these offensive powers on first team is junior Greg Noll. Noll, a three-year starter at center-back for the Lutes, is given the honor for his staunch defensive record this season. Augustin was also named the NWC Offensive Player of the Year for his outstanding accomplishments thus far in 2011. Last season, Kearns earned the honor for his 15 goals and five assists. Making the second team for the Lutes were Joe Rayburn, Shane Gutierrez, and Lucas McCallum. Rayburn boasts a 0.94 goals against average and an overall record of 15-3 this season. Gutierrez is honored for the first time in his career. Joining these two on second team was Lucas McCallum. Coming off the bench in the majority of games, McCallum has scored seven goals in 2011, including the game-winner in overtime against UW-Whitewater. Rounding out the list of Lutes making All-NWC teams are Honorable Mention selections Joe Olenginski, Giancarlo Santoro, Kevin Wien, and Aaron Grossberg. Santoro repeats his honorable mention selection from a year ago after tallying one goal and two assists this season. Senior Aaron Grossberg has been given Honorable Mention All-NWC for the second straight season for his play at outside-back in 2011. With 11 members on the three all-conference squads, the Lutes set the program record for most players on All-NWC teams since the conference joined the NCAA. Click here to view the complete All-NWC list.
COACHING IS THE KEY: Though the Lute players were outstanding on the field, the success of 2011 can be attributed in large part to coach John Yorke's guidance throughout the season. In his 10th season as the Lutes head coach, Yorke was named the NWC Coach of the Year for 2011, an award he has now won twice in the last three seasons. With the Lutes' 15-4 mark this season, Yorke's record as a coach is now 110-75-9. His winning percentage of .584 is the highest of any PLU men's soccer coach with over 50 games coached.
LOOKING FOWARD: As the Lutes now move into the off-season, preparations for next season begin. The most pressing issue the Lutes will need to confront heading into 2012 is replacing the scoring abilities of Chad Kearns, Spencer Augustin, and Surafel Wodajo. With a talented squad of young players, the Lutes will look to Derek Johnson, Richard Renteria, and Lucas McCallum to find the scoring touch come next year. The Lutes will also have voids in the defense to fill, with Greg Noll, Aaron Grossberg, and Tom Molyneux-Elliot graduating from the program. Kevin Wien will lead the back line next season and will call upon Paul Boscole and Mark Lee to replace these veteran players. The Lute midfield will continue to be successful, with Olenginski, Gutierrez, and Santoro all returning next season. After getting a sniff of the NCAA tournament, the Lutes will be chomping at the bit to get another chance at making and going farther in next year's national tournament.
- PLU -