The Pacific Lutheran women's soccer team came into the 2012 season with optimism and a sense of urgency to compete with the conference elite under first year head coach Seth Spidahl. The Lutes went to work right away adding 14 new faces to a returning talent pool of savvy veteran leaders anxious to begin a new era of PLU soccer. By the season's end, the new-look Lutes set the foundation for years to come by competing with top conference opponents and making their presence felt across the league.
NWC HONOREES: One of Spidahl's young stars in freshman Lauren Larson (University Place, WA / Curtis HS) led the Lutes with nine goals and was selected to the All Northwest Conference Second Team. She was the only Lute to reach an all conference team for the 2012 season. Of Larson's nine scores, four were of the game-winning variety, and she also added one assist on the season as well.
Four Lutes made it as NWC Honorable Mention selections. Senior midfielder Mimi Granlund (Lake Oswego, Ore. / Lake Oswego HS), junior defenders Kristi D'Allesandro (Clovis, CA. / Buchanan HS) and Mariah Rasmussen, and freshman goalkeeper Marisa Gonzalez (Mukilteo, WA / Kamiak HS) were all selected as honorable mention awardees. Granlund tallied one goal and two assists while starting all 18 games, D'Allesandro started in all 18 matches and tallied one goal, Rasmussen anchored the central defense starting in all 18 matches while registering 1,740 minutes played, and Gonzalez racked up 94 saves and boasted a goals-against average of 0.88 in her freshman season.
A LOOK BACK: Pacific Lutheran concluded one of its more successful conference seasons in recent years and if it's any indication, the best is yet to come. The Lutes wrapped up the 2012 campaign under first year head coach Seth Spidahl with an overall record of 6-5-7, which also marks the first winning season the Lutes have had since the 2006 season. The five losses are also the fewest tallied by the women's program since the 1992 squad finished at conference championship (and national championship runner up season) record of 19-3-2
GONZALEZ HONORED BY NWC: Freshman goalkeeper Marisa Gonzalez was honored by the Northwest Conference for her stellar defensive performances last weekend. Gonzalez and her stingy Lute defense stymied a total 11 shots on goal, forcing six saves from the freshman keeper en route to two shutouts to cap off the season. The inspired PLU defense recorded a total of eight shutouts and assisted Gonzalez in registering her seventh and eighth shutouts of the year, which is the eights most single season shutouts recorded in program history.
NATION ON NOTICE: Several Lutes posted impressive stats this season and are comparable to other top performers throughout the country. Freshman forward Lauren Larson led the youth movement and the rest of her team with nine goals this season. Her prolific scoring was the most PLU has seen since Jenny McKinsey's nine-goal season back in 2006. Larson also tallied four game-winning goals, placing her 77th nationally in the category. Teammate Marisa Gonzalez also had a freshman year to remember, making a major statistical impact on PLU's success this season. Gonzalez ranks 41st nationally with 1707:04 minutes played, 63rd with a save percentage of 0.847, 88th with her 0.88 goals-against average, and 128th in total saves with 94.