Lutes Finish 2008 Season Sixth in NWC
FINAL COUNT: Pacific Lutheran ended the year at 5-11-3, including a 4-10-2 record in the NWC, good for sixth place. This is an improvement from their seventh-place finish in 2007. "I always look to improve on the previous year's record and even though this year was challenging it was a success in this category," Buffington said. "We moved up one place in the Northwest Conference standings which is great and an excellent measure of improvement." PLU beat one team record, though not one is wants - most consecutive games without a win. The Lutes, struggling to make personnel adjustments during a time when several key players went down with injuries or illness, had a nine-match winless streak that included seven losses and two ties.
LUTES SPLIT IN FINAL WEEKEND: Steph Caster scored on a goal mouth scramble following a free kick with about a minute remaining to give the visiting Linfield Wildcats a 1-0 Northwest Conference victory over the host Lutes last Friday at the Washington Premier Soccer Complex. The match was played at WPSC because heavy rains made the PLU field unplayable. Following a Pacific Lutheran foul in the left corner, Rennika Doty delivered a free kick into the penalty area, where the ball hit a PLU defender and bounced up and into the cross bar. The ball fell to Caster, and she knocked in a close-range shot past Lutes goalkeeper Kamryn Morgan. While the cross bar was friendly to Linfield, it was not so to Pacific Lutheran which had a pair of first half shots by Christina McDuffie deflect off the bar. The Lutes dominated the opening half with seven shots and two corner kicks to just two shots and no corners for the Wildcats. The second half was more evenly played, and Linfield's Caster ended up making the deciding play just prior to the finish of regulation. Pacific Lutheran ended up with an 11-8 advantage in shots and both teams finished with a pair of corner kicks. Morgan came up with four saves in goal for PLU. In Saturday's season finale played on the PLU field, Olivia Lee converted a penalty kick with about 10 minutes left as PLU defeated Lewis & Clark in conference action. The match, played on a muddy field, came down to Lee's penalty kick after Brittney Bronson was tripped in the penalty area. Pioneers goalkeeper Kate MacDougall guessed correctly, diving to the lower left corner, but she was unable to stop Lee's well-placed shot. The Pioneers had one last flurry with about three minutes remaining, but PLU goalkeeper Kamryn Morgan and her defense shut down that opportunity. Morgan, one of six seniors honored prior to the start of the match, finished with three saves to give her 100 for the season, and the shutout was her fourth of the season. Other seniors honored were midfielder Amanda Crawford and McDuffie, who both played the full 90 minutes, and goalkeeper Amanda Tschauner and defenders Bré Greenman and Lauren Meyer, all of whom did not play because of injuries.
INJURY BUG: Throughout the 2008 season, the injury bug bit the Lutes in a major way with significant injuries putting a large handful of starters on the sideline. "This season was a roller coaster ride," coach Lynnette Buffington said. "We started incredibly strong with a good balance of experienced and young players contributing in every game. As the season progressed we suffered a paralyzing amount of injuries and setbacks that slowed our momentum and our success on the field. With some key players experiencing season-ending injuries it was a challenge to keep the same group of players on the field together and playing in familiar positions." You can start the count with senior goalkeeper Amanda Tschauner, who figured to be the full-time starter for the second straight year until tearing her ACL playing basketball during the summer. Fortunately for the Lutes, senior Kamryn Morgan filled in admirably between the pipes. Senior defender Lauren Meyer, who had been a starter since her freshman season, was lost for the season after tearing her ACL in an early practice. Sophomore Courtney Walker, a two-year starter who split time between midfield and defense this season, missed several games with a high ankle sprain. Midfielder Megan O'Rourke, a starter most of last year, played little this year because of injury. Freshman Ashley Polen, who was showing well as a defensive presence, missed the last six matches because of injury. Long-time starting defender Bré Greenman missed one game because of a broken nose. Finally, long-time starting forward Christina McDuffie strained a hamstring early against George Fox and missed the remainder of that game and also the Willamette contest.
LUTES BY THE NUMBERS: As a team, the Lutes finished the season with 21 goals while allowing 36. A total of 11 different players have scored goals for the Lutes, led by Laura Bressler with four goals. Kristina Snaring led the Lutes in assists with three, all coming in one match. Goalkeeper Kamryn Morgan finished the season with 100 saves and a 1.84 goals against average. "Kamryn Morgan who had been the back-up goal keeper for several years and was forced to step into the starter position due to Amanda Tschauner's injury," Buffington said. "Kam worked incredibly hard and became the goalkeeper she promised she could be."
KUDOS: Coach Buffington said that the coaching staff is particularly happy with the performances of junior defender Meredith Newby and freshman center back Jordan Daniels. She predicts that "both of theses players look to have solid futures with the program." She also mentioned senior midfielder Amanda Crawford, senior forward Christina McDuffie and freshman forward Laura Bressler as leading contributors to the team.
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By Ashley Coats, student assistant