WEEKEND PREVIEW: Pacific Lutheran will seek its first Northwest Conference victory this weekend in another grueling road trip to eastern Washington. The Lutes will square off with the conference leading Whitworth Pirates this Saturday at noon before heading south on Sunday to Walla Walla to face the Whitman Missionaries.
CHASING WHITWORTH: The Pirates have jumped out to the top of the Northwest conference standings early in the 2012 campaign with an undefeated 5-0 start to conference play. The defensive back line for the Pirates has also yet to concede a goal during conference play and have score a total of eight goals, leading all other NWC opponents. The Lutes' all time record against their Spokane rivals sits at 13-25-4, with PLU's last victory as recent at 2006. Whitworth freshman Tiara Pajimola leads the home team with 9 points, including 4 goals on the season, which ties her for fourth in conference.
MATCHIN UP WITH THE MISSIONARIES: Whitman College enters the weekend with a 2-3-conference record, sitting in the middle of the NWC standings at fifth place. The Lutes hold a 37-15-4 overall record against the Missionaries but have struggled in recent years, dropping four of their last five fixtures tot their eastern Washington opponent. Whitman has struggled to find the back of the net against conference foes, only tallying three goals in their first five games. Senior midfielder Jaclyn Rudd leads the Missionaries with 5 points, netting 2 goals and tallying one assist.
PLU 0, L&C 0: PLU played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer against the visiting Lewis & Clark College Pioneers on East Field. With the tie, the Lutes are now 2-0-3 overall and 0-0-3 in the conference. L&C is now 1-5-1 overall and 1-2-1 in the NWC. The match went back-and-forth, with both teams putting pressure on the opponent for stretches, though with few chances that forced either goalkeeper to make difficult saves. PLU goalkeeper Marisa Gonzalez finished with five saves - all of them relatively easy stops - on a total of eight Lewis & Clark shots. L&C's Savanna DeCota had seven saves on 12 PLU attempts, and she was called on to make two that were more difficult. About 14 minutes into the match she dove to her right to save Kristi D'Allesandro's shot, and with about two minutes left in regulation she tipped Ashlie Thompson's long drive over the cross bar. Through the first 90 minutes of regulation and 10 minutes of the first overtime the two teams were tied at eight shots apiece. PLU had most of the ball in the final overtime and ended up with four shots to none for the Pioneers during the 10-minute period.
PLU 0, LINFIELD 2: Linfield scored a goal in each half and dominated play in beating Pacific Lutheran, 2-0, in a Northwest Conference women's soccer match played Sunday afternoon at the Linfield soccer field. Emily Fellows and Emma Vukic both had an assist and a goal and keeper Taylor Collinsworth recorded her fourth clean sheet of the season for the Wildcats, ranked No. 25 in the Division III national poll. After losing their first match of the season yesterday, the Wildcats (7-1, 3-1 NWC) got a close-range shot in the first minute that forced a save from PLU's Marisa Gonzalez. The hosts broke the scoreless deadock in the 21st minute, when Anna Sours sent in a cross from the left side of the field. Fellows flicked the ball on to Vukic, who finished with a right-footed shot. With just over eight minutes to play in the first, PLU's Jennifer Brus sent a ball into the Wildcats' box that found the foot of Blake Warner, but her shot went just wide. PLU (2-1-2, 0-1-3 NWC) created another threat with less than a minute left in the first. The Lutes sent the ball into the box and Linfield's back line could not clear it out. Mimi Granlund struck the ball but missed high, and the 'Cats salvaged the 1-0 advantage going into the break. The Wildcats outshot PLU in the first half 12-4, forcing Gonzalez to make four saves. While Collinsworth didn't have to make any saves, she was faced with heavy pressure several times in the opening period. Linfield continued to push forward to open the second half, as Sours sent a cross in from the left corner of the field. Gonzalez was there to snatch it out of the air before Vaughan could get a head on it. With 24 minutes to play, Linfield doubled its lead. Vukic played a ball through to Fellows, who achieved double digits in the scoring category with her 10th goal of the season. With 10 minutes to play, PLU sent a cross through Linfield's box, but Collinsworth was there to secure it. The 'Cats took 25 shots to just six for PLU, and the hosts also enjoyed a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks.