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Lutes Battle NWC-Leading Whitworth to 2-2 Draw

Samantha Benner (5)
Samantha Benner (5)

SPOKANE, Wash. – Visiting Pacific Lutheran rallied to force a 2-2 tie against league-leading Whitworth in a Northwest Conference women's soccer match on Saturday.

The Lutes (2-1-4 overall, 0-1-4 / 4 points NWC) scored twice in the final 12 minutes to force a tie on both occasions.  The Pirates (5-4-1 overall, 5-0-1 NWC / 16 points) saw their five-match winning and shutout streak come to an end.

Tiara Pajimola raced under a long pass from Kelsey Griswold and finished for her team-leading fifth goal of the season in the 34th minute to give Whitworth a 1-0 lead at halftime.

PLU didn't tie the match until the 79th minute when Samantha Benner stole the ball from a Whitworth defender and then floated a shot over Pirate keeper Ashley Rothrock from just outside the penalty area.  It was Benner's second goal of the season.

The Pirates appeared to have retaken control three minutes later.  Jackie Day raced up the right side and crossed a perfect pass to the far post where Katrin Grant was there to head in past PLU keeper Marisa Gonzalez, giving Whitworth a 2-1 lead in the 82nd minute.  It was Grant's first goal of the season.

But Mimi Granlund tied it again in the 88th minute when she headed in a corner kick from Blake Warner for her initial goal in 2012.

Grant had a good chance at a winning goal two minutes into the first overtime, but her laser from 15 yards hit the cross bar. Benner then had PLU's best chance in extra play, but her shot was saved by Rothrock.

Mackenzie Grow had a good look at a long shot in the second extra period, but Gonzalez just got enough on the ball to keep it out of the net.

Whitworth finished with a 16-9 edge in overall shots, but shots on-goal were even at 5-5.  Both keepers made three saves.

PLU returns to conference play at noon on Sunday when it faces Whitman in Walla Walla.

(Courtesy of Whitworth Sports Information Office.)