Samuel Engle intercepted a back pass and beat Pacific Lutheran keeper Joe Rayburn for the game's only goal in the 38th minute as Whitworth beat the Lutes, 1-0, in a Sunday afternoon battle of the top teams in Northwest Conference men's soccer.
Whitworth, ranked 10th in Division III men's soccer, improves to 10-0-3 overall and to 7-0-2 in the conference for a total of 23 points, four clear of the Lutes. PLU, 7-5-2 overall, is 6-2-1 in the NWC for 19 points and second place in the standings.
Engle, who scored on a bicycle kick in Whitworth's 3-2 victory over the Lutes two weeks ago in Spokane, scored his fourth goal of the season by taking advantage of a PLU defensive mistake.
Pacific Lutheran had the majority of the play, which was reflected in a 12-8 advantage in shots. The Lutes forced six saves from Kyle Novak, though none of them really tested the keeper who leads the conference in goals against average and shutouts. Novak's clean sheet today was his 11th of the season.
The Lutes had an excellent early chance when Derek Johnson nearly scored a goal similar to the one he tallied in Saturday's 1-0 win over Whitman. This time, his first half try bent just wide of the right post.
PLU has five matches remaining in the conference season, including its final two home matches of the season next weekend. Willamette is in town on Saturday and Linfield is here on Sunday, with both matches scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m.
- PLU -