Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – Goals from Machaela Graddy and Liz Griffith lifted the Pacific Lutheran University women's soccer team to a 2-0 victory over the Willamette University in a Northwest Conference clash on Sunday at East Field.
PLU (13-3, 10-2 NWC) scored early in the 17th minute when Graddy punched the ball past the Willamette (10-4-2, 7-4-1 NWC) keeper on a pass from Kaylie Rozell. The skies opened up in the second half, as rain and wind tortured the turf on East Field. That didn't stop the Lutes, with Kelsey Hathaway setting up a Liz Griffith goal in the 76th minute.
"It all started with an amazing switch by Liz and good movement and passing by teammates under me," Graddy said. "I knew they worked hard to get me the ball so I kept strong on the finish."
The Lutes owned the pace of play throughout the first half, outshooting the Bearcats 6-1. Things evened up in the second half when both teams had four shots, but none of Willamette's found the back of the net.
Natalie Robinson was in goal for the Lutes. The junior out of Seattle, Washington recorded her 13th shutout of the season, making five saves throughout the contest.
"It was a really good game for our team," head coach Seth Spidahl said. "Willamette was on a roll. They've switched systems and they've seen some good results, beating Linfield, Whitworth, and Whitman. We knew it was going to be a tough game. Coming off a disappointing outcome against Puget Sound, it was going to be a real test to see how badly our team wanted to win a Northwest Conference Championship. They stepped up big time today, they showed a lot of grit and I'm really proud of them."
PLU returns to East Field for two huge games next weekend. First, the team hosts Whitman College on Saturday at 12 p.m. Sunday is Senior Day, as Whitworth University is in town for a game that kicks off at 12 p.m.
"I feel like our process is really good, but we know that we can always improve," Spidahl said. "We'll watch film and continue to dissect some small things that we want to improve on. There are a lot of different ways to score goals, and were always going to look at ways in how we can improve at doing that."