PARKLAND, Wash. - It was a perfect ending to the 2012 home schedule for Pacific Lutheran seniors Mimi Granlund and Erica Boyle, who were feted before the Northwest Conference match won by the Lutes, who topped Willamette by a 2-0 tally.
Lauren Larson scored a goal in the 17th minute and Kristi D'Allesandro added an insurance tally in the 74th as the Lutes not only ended a six-match scoring drought but also moved into sixth place in the conference table. Pacific Lutheran is now 5-5-7 overall and 3-5-7 in the conference, while Willamette fell to 5-13-1 overall and 3-11-1 in the NWC.
After suffering through a long scoring dry spell, the Lutes broke through at 16:14 when Larson followed up her own blocked shot with an easy tap in near the left post. The freshman forward had been sent through the defense with a nice pass from Hannah Bush, but Larson's initial shot was nicely blocked by Willamette keeper Nicole Price. Fortunately for the Lutes the ball fell right at Larson's feet, and she converted her team-high eighth goal of the season.
PLU finished the half with a 4-0 advantage in shots, with Larson putting one more shot on goal and forcing two saves from Price. Meanwhile, the PLU defense closed down the Bearcats whenever they moved the ball into their attacking third and kept the visitors off of the stat sheet.
Willamette started the second half with high pressure and got its first shot of the game from Shannon Scott less than a minute into the period, though PLU keeper Marisa Gonzalez was there to make an easy save.
Larson nearly doubled her team's lead at the 68-minute mark but Price recorded an acrobatic save by tipping the long-range blast just over the crossbar.
The Lutes added their insurance goal about six minutes later and it was a thing of beauty. The play started when Bush sent in cross from the left wing. Larson was at the top of the 18 and flicked it with her head to D'Allesandro, the outside right back making a run down the wing.
Running onto the ball, D'Allesandro angled a shot past Price and just inside the left post for her first career goal. The assists went to Larson and Bush, with the latter picking up her team-high sixth of the campaign.
The first time these teams met on Oct. 7 in Salem, Ore., Willamette enjoyed a 25-12 shot advantage. Today, PLU had nine attempts and limited the Bearcats to just three, with Gonzalez called on to make two easy stops in goal. The shutout was her seventh of the season. Price finished with three saves for the Bearcats.
Pacific Lutheran finishes its season at noon tomorrow when it plays George Fox in Newberg, Ore.
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