Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University men's soccer team move up the Northwest Conference standings, collecting its third shutout victory by defeating Linfield College 3-0 in a on Sunday afternoon at East Field.
The Lutes (8-5-2, 5-3-1 NWC) struck first late in the opening half, as Eddie Na drove a tough shot past the defense and the goalie to give the Lutes the first lead in the 39th minute. The score seemed to open up the defense, as Bennett Bugbee added to the lead by scoring on a free kick just a minute later.
The Lute defense maintained enough control to secure the win from there, but Bugbee added some extra security with another free-kick-goal in the 86th minute. Despite a late effort from the Wildcats which saw a shot go off the post, the Lutes were able to get their third consecutive shutout.
"We got the win, but it wasn't our prettiest," head coach John Yorke said. "Linfield is a good team, and they made it difficult for us."
Even when the team is not at its best, they're still able to perform adequately, which shows how much the team has improved through the season.
"If we played like this earlier this season, we wouldn't get the win," Yorke said. "We're getting better, and we're far enough where our maturity, camaraderie, and ideas, are constantly growing. Grinding out two wins this weekend shows good improvement."
Defense was the key for the Lutes this weekend, and they delivered, holding Linfield (0-12-2, 0-8-1 NWC) to just one shot in the first half.
"We're getting settled in, and trusting each other more," goalie Jack Rose said. "As long as we're all working together, we're going to be successful."
Rose grabbed five saves on five shots-on-goal while playing most of the game today. He was replaced by Tyler Ohata after Bennett Bugbee scored the team's third goal. Jorge Rodriguez played the complete game for the Wildcats, grabbing seven saves while allowing three goals.
The win brought the Lutes to third in conference, but they've got to keep improving to give themselves a better chance at finishing first at the end of the season.
"We truly believe we can be better every day, and that's what we have to do," Rose said.
The Lutes hit the road next weekend to face Whitworth University and Whitman College.