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Santoro's Brace Leads Lutes Past Bearcats, 3-1

Giancarlo Santoro (center) is congratulated by teammates after one of his two goals.

Giancarlo Santoro scored a pair of goals in the second half as Pacific Lutheran rallied to beat the visiting Willamette Bearcats, 3-1, in a Northwest Conference men's soccer match played Saturday at East Field.

With the win, the Lutes keep pace with conference-leading Whitworth, which picked up a 3-1 home win against Pacific. Whitworth has 26 points from an 8-0-2 record, while the Lutes have 22 points from their 7-2-1 mark in the conference. PLU is now 8-5-2 overall, while Willamette falls to 4-5-1 in the conference and 7-7-1 overall.

Pacific Lutheran had to come back from a 1-0 deficit after Erik Kaufman put the visitors on the board in the 54th minutes with his fourth goal of the season, which came after a Willamette corner kick.

The Lutes scored seven minutes later, in the 61st minute, with Emmanuel Amarh netting his seventh of the season from short range after a pass from Taylor Jackson. It took another seven minutes for the Lutes to take the lead, and it was Santoro scoring his first of the match and third of the season from Derek Johnson's assist. Johnson put Santoro in one-on-one against Willamette keeper Brayden Calder, and Santoro won that confrontation.

Santoro scored an insurance goal in the 87th minute, and it was Amarh and Johnson who got the assists. Amarh's nifty back heel pass sent Johnson behind the defense along the end line, and he found Santoro in front for the finish.

The Lutes ended up with a 16-12 advantage in shots, and they has a 6-5 edge in shots on goal. Willamette ended up with eight corner kicks to just four for the Lutes. Joe Rayburn had four saves in the PLU goal, while Calder finished with three for Willamette.

Pacific Lutheran plays the Linfield Wildcats in its final home game of the 2012 season starting at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

- PLU -