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Lutes Close Season With Second Leg of Tacoma Derby

Brenden Cohen (3) battles for possession in the first game between PLU and Puget Sound.
Brenden Cohen (3) battles for possession in the first game between PLU and Puget Sound.

COMING UP: With at least a share of second place in the conference already assured, Pacific Lutheran plays its final match of the 2012 men's soccer season on Saturday afternoon at the University of Puget Sound. The Lutes and the Loggers will kick off starting at 2:30 p.m. on East Field on the UPS campus. East Field is conveniently located directly east of Memorial Fieldhouse.

LUTES WRAP UP SECOND PLACE: Sunday brought a mixture of good and bad news for Pacific Lutheran. The good news? PLU's 3-0 win over George Fox assured the team of no worse than a second-place finish in the conference standings. The bad news? Later that afternoon Whitworth won 1-0 at Linfield, wrapping up the conference title and keeping the Lutes from repeating their 2011 championship. With 28 points from a 9-3-1 record, the Lutes currently occupy second place behind Whitworth, which has 32 points from a 10-1-2 mark. Puget Sound is in third with 25 points from a 7-2-4 mark. Even if UPS beats PLU, the teams would be tied with 28 points and there are no conference tiebreakers to separate teams by place, thus both would finish second with 28 points. A PLU win or tie would give the Lutes second place outright.

COACH JOHN YORKE SAYS: "The message this week is that finishing in second place is our highest priority now. Regardless of who we are playing our goal is to make this our best game of the year. So, the focus is being the best team we can be this week."

RECORD OF SUCCESS: Credit head coach John Yorke with building a program that annually competes for the conference championship. Pacific Lutheran men's soccer has finished in the top half of the eight-team NWC standings every year since the 2003, and over the past six seasons the Lutes have finished first once, second three times (including this year), third twice, and fourth once.

THE FIRST TIME: Battling into the night and under the lights on Oct. 5, Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound ended their first NWC showdown in a 2-2 double overtime tie at PLU's East Field. The Lutes got on the board less than four minutes into the game when Derek Johnson took a lay off pass from Emmanuel Amarh and slammed it into the goal from about 20 yards out. At the intermission the Lutes maintained their 1-0 lead despite the Loggers owning a 5-4 advantage in shots. PLU junior keeper Joe Rayburn came up big on several occasions, including a point-blank stop of Andrew White's header early in the period. Puget Sound had been getting a little more of the play late in the first half, and it turned up the pressure even more in the opening part of the second period. The work paid off when Carson Swope slipped past a couple of defenders and laid the ball off for Oliver Field, who pushed it around a sliding Rayburn and then finished into the open goal. The tying tally came at the 59:06 mark. Against the run of play, Pacific Lutheran scored the go-ahead goal on a set piece at 72:50. Amarh, who had been knocked down to set up the free kick about 10 yards outside of the box, volleyed Shane Gutierrez's free kick into the back of the net. Just when it seemed that the Lutes would get the win, the Loggers came up with the match-tying goal at 86:18. Field, who had scored the earlier goal, crossed the ball in from the wing and Ryan Rash rose to head it past Rayburn. Neither team had a shot throgh the first 10-minute extra period, but the Lutes forced two saves from McDonald in the second overtime. First he saved a shot by Jeff Piaquadio from a corner kick, and then seconds later stopped Mark Lee's follow up effort.

AMARH HONORED: Freshman forward Emannual Amarh (Sarpsbog, Norway / Greaaker Vgs) was recognized as the Northwest Conference Men's Soccer Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week week for his two-goal performance against Pacific. Despite missing last Sunday's George Fox matchup due to an ankle injury the day before, Amarh's two goals tallied in the match against Pacific proved crucial as he helped the Lutes hold off the Boxers in a tight 3-2 final victory. 

NWC SCORING LEADERS: Emmanuel Amarh is currently tied with teammate and junior forward Derek Johnson for the conference lead in goals scored with nine, and he is also tied for second in conference with six assists. That makes Amarh the NWC total points leader with 24, one point better than Johnson.

PLU 3, PACIFIC 2: Pacific Lutheran took care of its business last Friday with a 3-2 win over Pacific in Forest Grove. The Lutes came out firing with eight shots in the first half to the Boxers' one. On the stroke of halftime, Emmanuel Amarh bagged his eighth goal of the season by following up on his initial saved shot to tuck in the rebound. Amarh completed his brace and extended his lead atop the conference goal-scoring leaderboard two minutes after the break. Just six minutes later Pacific made good on a golden opportunity to pull one back when the center whistled for a penalty kick from the mark. The Lutes scored again in the 69th minute when Derek Johnson knocked home what would hold up as the game winner. The Boxers struck back when Rudella headed home his second of the match in the 81st minute.

PLU 3, GEORGE FOX 0: Pacific Lutheran finished their final Oregon road trip of the season Sunday with a 3-0 win over the George Fox Bruins at the Austin Sports Complex in Newberg. Shane Gutierrez would break free and skip a Paul Boscole cross past Elliot Davis to put the Lutes up 1-0 in the eighth minute.  hat stood as the lone goal in the first half, despite Pacific Lutheran's 11-0 shot advantage at the interval. In the 71st minute the Lutes would finally get the insurance goal they wanted. Kevin Wien headed a corner taken by Gutierrez toward Derek Johnson, who managed to tuck a header of his own inside the post. A pair of Lutes earned their maiden points in the 83rd minute when Bryan Anderson combined with Brian Lefavour. Lefavour ripped Anderson's cross into the upper netting from 18 yards out to round out the scoring, 3-0. Pacific Lutheran outshot the Bruins 22-2 on the afternoon, with 11 shots on goal.

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