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At Home and Away: PLU Faces Two NWC Foes

Goalkeeper Marisa Gonzalez

THIS WEEKEND: Pacific Lutheran is set for two fixtures this Saturday and Sunday against tough Northwest Conference foes. The Lutes will play one home match at noon on Saturday on East Field against Lewis & Clark before traveling to McMinnville to square off with conference power Linfield at noon on Sunday.

LISTEN LIVE: Most PLU women's soccer home matches and some road contests can be heard on the internet by going to www.golutes.com, clicking on the Listen Live button on the right, and then clicking on the appropriate link. Veteran play-by-play announcer Landyn Rookard will be joined this year by color commentator Surafel Wodajo in bringing you the action.

LARSON, BUSH AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Lutes are off to their best start in recent seasons with significant statistical help from freshman forward Lauren Larson and sophomore midfielder Hannah Bush. In four matches, Larson has found the back of the net five times, ranking her among the Division III leaders in goals per game (1.25). Bush has burst on the scene averaging 1.0 assists per game, which ranks her in the top 10 in NCAA Division III. The Tacoma native has dished out four assists in her the first four matches this season, including three of them to Larson.

MATCHING UP WITH L&C: After a rough start to the 2012 season, the Pioneers enter this weekend's fixture with a 1-5 overall record and 1-2 conference mark after beating Whitman 2-0 last weekend. Freshman duo Emily Thompson and Anna Thorndike each have a pair of goals and one assist between them. The new look Lutes will aim to take advantage of a young Pioneers side that conceded 33 goals and scored only 12 a season ago. In 2011 Pacific Lutheran swept Lewis & Clark in a pair of 2-1 double-overtime victories, with the first meeting ending with an Alex Murray header in Parkland.

UP NEXT LINFIELD: The undefeated and nationally 25th ranked Wildcats hope to pick up where they left off from a season ago, finishing second in the NWC standings with an overall record of 14-3-3 (11-2-3 in conference). Led by junior forward Emily Fellows, who already has tallied nine goals and an assist thus far, Linfield looks to give the improved PLU defense all it can handle this weekend. The 'Cats have also stymied several teams from finding their offensive rhythm by allowing only a single goal in six contests. The Linfield offense was third in conference last year with 35 goals while allowing only 15, and the 'Cats swept the Lutes last season by scores of 3-1 and 6-1.

LUTES EARN TIE AT PUGET SOUND: Lauren Larson scored a pair of first half goals and Marisa Gonzalez made nine saves - several of the spectacular variety - as Pacific Lutheran tied host Puget Sound, 2-2 in double overtime, last Thursday at Baker Stadium. The tie ended Pacific Lutheran's 27-match losing streak to the Loggers. Larson opened the scoring just 6:07 into the match when she ran onto Mimi Granlund's through ball and finished to the upper right corner of the goal. The second tally came at 14:31 when Larson took a pass from Hannah Bush near the top of the box and hit it past Loggers keeper Casey Thayer and into the lower left corner. The Loggers were rewarded for their pressure on the PLU defense in the second half. After Gonzalez dove to her right to parry away a goal-bound UPS shot about seven minutes into the second half, UPS scored goals at 70:25 and 82:16 to tie the contest. Both teams had several scoring chances in the two overtime periods. About 2:45 into the second overtime period Gonzalez charged off her line and got a hand to a potential game-winning shot by Acorda-Fey. Another Puget Sound chance came on Rosie Jaye's shot off the post with 3 1/2 minutes left, while PLU's best chance came about a minute later when Larson's left-footed drive just missed outside of the left post. Puget Sound ended up with a 28-11 advantage in shots, though shots on goal were much closer at 11-7. The Loggers also took 12 corner kicks to three for PLU.

PLU 1, PACIFIC 1: Pacific Lutheran got a second half goal from Emma Wayerski to tie the game and the Lutes ended up with a 1-1 double overtime draw with the visiting Pacific Boxers in a Sunday afternoon Northwest Conference match played at East Field. The Boxers took the lead at the 37:52 mark of the first half when McKenna Davidson scored an unassisted goal, her first tally of the season, after some defensive confusion in the PLU box. Wayerski's first goal as a collegiate player proved to be a big one as she tied the score 61:26 into the contest. Samantha Benner ran onto a long pass kicked into space behind the Pacific defense just before it crossed the touch line, and she was able to bend the ball back in front of the net. Lauren Larson, PLU's leading scorer with five goals, couldn't connect, but Wayerski was there on the back post to slot a shot at a tight angle past Pacific keeper Brittany Hartmann. PLU freshman keeper Marisa Gonzalez made three of her five saves in the final OT period. The Boxers ended up with a 14-6 advantage in shots, while the Lutes took three corner kicks - all in the first half - to none for the visitors.

- PLU -

By Joe Rayburn, student assistant