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Larson's Hat Trick Gives Lutes Season-Opening Victory

Lauren Larson (3) scored three goals and Hannah Bush (9) had three assists
Lauren Larson (3) scored three goals and Hannah Bush (9) had three assists

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Lauren Larson scored three goals and Hannah Bush added three assists as the Pacific Lutheran women's soccer team opened the Seth Spidahl era Friday afternoon with a 4-2 victory over the visiting Trinity Lutheran College Eagles.

Larson, a freshman forward out of Curtis High School in nearby University Place, opened the scoring in the fifth minute, added her second in the 77th, and finishing the scoring in the 85th.

The game marked the beginning of two eras at Pacific Lutheran. First-year head coach Seth Spidahl, who played at PLU in the early 1990s, had a winning debut, and that victory came on East Field, the brand new synthetic surface. Today's contest was the first official match played on East Field, though it has been in use for practice and scrimmages since mid-August.

Bush, a sophomore midfielder, provided perfect service on Larson's first goal. The cross came in from the left and Larson redirected it with her head into the far netting.

Junior forward Samantha Benner made it 2-0 in the 11th minute, running onto a through ball from Bush and slamming her shot past Trinity keeper K.C. Wilson and into the goal.

The Eagles got one back when Shey Thommasen notched her fourth goal of the season in the 19th minute, and the score stayed that way until about 14 minutes remained in the game.

With both teams working hard to overcome the oppressive 88-degree temperature at game time, it was Larson who gave her team a 3-1 advantage, hitting Bush's cross into the back of the net.

Trinity got some hope when Kaeli Eberth hit a long-range goal, her first score of the season, in the 84th minute, but Larson put the Lutes back on top by two exactly one minute later. Freshman forward Jamie Hoffman raced onto a ball near the end touch line and crossed it back in front to Larson, who finished off her hat trick.

The last three-goal game by a Pacific Lutheran women's soccer player came on Oct. 16, 2004, when Andrea Gabler netted all three in a 3-2 victory over Lewis & Clark. Gabler finished with seven goals that season.

PLU took 17 shots to 13 for Trinity Lutheran, and the Lutes also had a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. Marissa Gonzalez and Lauren Higgins each played a half in goal for PLU, Higgins notching a pair of saves. Wilson had five saves for the Eagles.

The Lutes conclude their non-conference schedule starting at 3:30 p.m. Monday when they face Northwest University in Kirkland.

- PLU -