Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University men's soccer team opened the second half of Northwest Conference play with an impressive 2-0 win against Pacific University on Saturday afternoon at East Field, extending its win streak to four games. A strong start set the tone for a much needed conference win to continue chasing conference leading Willamette University.
The Lutes (7-4-2, 5-2-1 NWC) came out roaring to start. After Eddie Na missed a shot wide in the third minute, he found the back of the net in the sixth minute, thanks to an assist from Holton Halfaker. The Lutes saw a couple more opportunities to score come up empty, but they still took a 1-0 lead into the half.
The Boxers (7-5, 4-4 NWC) opened the second half with a strong attempt to regain control of the game. Tensions grew as well, as both sides saw yellow cards sent their way ten minutes into the half. Still, RJ Noll and company were able to hold off the Boxers' shots, and Joe Sammartino headed in the Lutes' second goal to extend their lead in the 74th minute. A late shot from Matt Kimball appeared to give the Boxers a goal with two minutes to play, but the score was waived off on an offsides call. This ultimately sealed the game for the Lutes, 2-0, making this their fourth consecutive win.
RJ Noll tallied three saves to collect the shutout in goal. Noll along with the Lute defense have now gone 233 minutes without allowing a goal.
Elijah James Hurt was one of the of the standout Lute performers on the afternoon. Hurt held his own for a full 90 minutes on the defensive end, and he had some motivation from the crowd to give him the additional push to succeed.
"My mom was here to watch me today, so that really helped," Hurt said. "It felt good to play my first full game in a while, and I just knew that if I did my job, and did what coach John Yorke wanted me to do, that we would have a good game."
While satisfied with the win, Hurt and his teammates hope to maintain a full 90 minutes of focus for Sunday's game as they hope to sweep the weekend.
"We've just got to move on and focus on the next game," Hurt said. "We're always staying in the moment, always thinking about what we need to do each play, so that should help us going forward."
The Lutes hope to keep building momentum in Sunday's game against George Fox University. They'll take the field at noon as they continue to defend their spot at second place in the NWC.