PARKLAND - Defending Northwest Conference men's soccer champion Pacific Lutheran is in a tie atop the 2012 conference standings after a 2-0 victory Sunday over the visiting Pacific Boxers at East Field.
The Lutes improved to 2-0 in the conference - good for a tie with Whitworth and Puget Sound - and are now 3-3-1 for the season. Pacific is now 2-5-0 overall and 0-2-0 in the NWC.
PLU notched its second consecutive conference shutout with Joe Rayburn making four saves while playing all 90 minutes. The Lutes limited Pacific to a total of just seven shots, including two in the opening half.
Freshman forward Jordan Downing scored his first goal as a collegian, and the only goal that the Lutes would need, when he kicked the ball into the back of the net on a goal mouth scramble at the 36:32 mark. PLU had earned a free kick outside the top of the box and Shane Gutierrez cracked a shot off the corner of the crossbar. The ball deflected back down and, after a couple of moments, Downing got his foot to the ball and gave his team the lead.
PLU's insurance goal at 55:03 involved the dribbling and passing skills of Emmanuel Amarh and a cracker of a finish by Brenden Cohen. Amarh, a freshman forward from Norway, beat his defender down the left wing, rounded the corner and charged at goal before passing through the box to Cohen on the far post. The senior midfielder, who scored on an 18-yard drive against George Fox on Saturday, blasted his shot past Pacific keeper Michael Summers and into the net.
Other than those goals, PLU had a difficult time getting the ball past Summers, who finished the game with 10 saves. His defense also cleared another ball off the line. The Lutes finished with a total fo 19 shots, 13 of which were on frame. Corner kicks were close with PLU holding an 8-7 advantage.
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