by Josiah Van Wingerden|Media Editor
Men’s soccer drops NCAA opener
The Whitworth men’s soccer team lost 3-0 to the third-ranked Trinity Tigers last weekend in San Antonio, Texas. The defeat officially concluded the Pirates 2016 season and the team finished with a 12-4-3 record overall. The team also earned the Northwest Conference title for the third year in a row and its third straight trip to the national tournament.
The Pirates fired nine shots total during the game, five on target, but were held without a goal. Senior goalkeeper Timmy Costa finished with a season-high 12 saves in the game. However, the Tigers snuck in three goals behind Costa to advance to the next round.
Trinity took 30 total shots and held significant advantages in shots on goal, 15-5 and corner kicks, 15-6. The Tigers scored in the 35th minute of action, heading a corner kick into the net and shot two more goals in the second half.
Even though the season did not end as the Pirates had hoped, the team has plenty of accomplishments to be proud of this season. Costa was named Northwest Conference Defensive Player of the Week and junior midfielder Jonah Snyder finished with a career-high 15 goals this season, which led the team.
The team also has a lot of potential to tap into for next season, as it welcomed five new freshmen players this season who showed promise throughout the season. In addition, transfer student Moi Diaz, ‘18, was a significant impact player for the Pirates down the stretch. Head coach Morgan Cathey will also be returning for his fifth season and will look to take the team to the national tournament for the fourth time.
Women’s XC wins West Regional
The Whitworth women’s cross country team scored 81 total points last weekend in Salem, Oregon, to win the Division III West Regionals 6-kilometer race.
With the win, the women earned an automatic chance to compete in the national championships held in Louisville on Nov. 19.
Kayla Leland, ‘18, placed third overall finishing with a time of 22:06.4. Fellow Pirate Bailey Scott. ‘18, also finished in the top 10 with a time of 22:44.1. Two more Pirates, Thais Pedro Trujillo, ‘18, and Allie Wood, ’17, placed in the top 20, crossing the finish line at 23:03.7 and 23:03.9 respectively, just two milliseconds apart.
The last Pirate to score points for the women’s team was Sara Dawes, ‘18, who crossed at 23:58.6 and placed 36th overall. Her placement was impressive as she was marked in 55th place at the midway point in the race. This means she jumped 19 total spots to score points for the Pirates and secure the team’s berth into the championships.
The men’s season officially came to a close as the team finished in 14th place overall. The highest placement for the Pirate men was Grant Bingham,’18, who finished just outside of the top 30 at 27:05.7 in the 8-kilometer race.
The Pirate women will run their way to compete in the Division III national championships next weekend.
Pirate women look to new starters for Championship
Whitworth women’s basketball will have a distinctly different, youthful look this season.
Pirate coaches and players are not sure what that will look like yet, but they are hopeful that when it comes together it will push the young and talented Bucs back to the NCAA tournament.
“What the team needs is to play with no fear,” junior post Chloe Quinnett said. “We just need to go out there and have fun.”
To get back to the tournament, the Pirates will need contributions from players who will play their first major minutes this season.
After scoring four points per game off the bench last season, junior guard Grace Douglas will be called on to produce more. Coach Helen Higgs said guards Madison Moffat, ’19, and Erika Kuehn, ’18, could step up as well.
“[Kuehn] might surprise some people. She didn’t play much last season, but she can really defend and worked on her offensive game,” Higgs said.
Fortunately, the Bucs also return point guard Jessica Thoens, their leader in assists with three per game last season. Higgs said Thoens, one of only two seniors on the team, will be counted on to step up as a leader as well.
The Pirates expect contributions from Quinnett and Faith Cebula, ’19. Quinnett led the Pirates in blocked shots last season with just under one per game, and Cebula is a six-footer who can shoot the three and play the post. Between those two and returning starter Callie Harwood, the Bucs believe they are well set in the post.
“As a young team there’s a lot of opportunity,” Kuehn said. “People aren’t going to expect much from us and we can use that to our advantage.
Though Pirate coaches and players believe the team is talented, they also know their youth can manifest itself in different ways.
Higgs said that though growing pains are not guaranteed, she is prepared if the new starters need room to learn. She compared this season’s Pirates to last year’s Puget Sound women’s squad, which struggled early but was still talented enough to finish second in the Northwest Conference.
“A young team can get stuck in their own heads and think they’re not good enough, but we can definitely win a bunch of ball games,” Quinnett said.
Higgs certainly seems to think so. She said if the Bucs can win early, they can ride their talent and confidence to a successful season. Simply the potential is something that is exciting to see as a coach, she said.
If the Pirates realize that potential and it is enough to return Whitworth to another NCAA tournament, fans can bet Higgs will be excited about that, too.
Whitworth ready to make a run for national title
After their many accomplishments, Whitworth men’s basketball’s four senior captains all said they have one goal left to accomplish: winning a national championship.
This year’s team looks like one that could do it.
“Our bench is going to be deeper than last season and our starters are going to be the most experienced in my time at Whitworth,” senior Drew Sears said.
Whitworth is loaded with returning contributors from last season’s conference championship team, and talented new faces expand the rotation.
Their talent and experience will be tested immediately by a non-conference schedule that features five teams that made the NCAA tournament last season, including an Elite Eight team from Alma College.
“Our ultimate goal is to get into the NCAA tournament and be prepared to win games once we’re there,” coach Matt Logie said. “Our non-conference schedule this year will really help with that.
The tests do not end with the non-conference schedule either. In conference, the 12th-ranked Pirates will be tested by rival Whitman, ranked ninth in the D3hoops preseason poll. The Blues defeated Whitworth in the NCAA tournament last season. All four seniors said they are looking for payback.
Additionally, Logie expects a “sneaky good” Puget Sound team to pose a challenge to Whitworth and Whitman in the conference standings. He said Pacific Lutheran and Lewis & Clark are consistently competitive, too.
In those difficult matchups, Whitworth may need to lean on some of their newer players to pitch in and get them to a conference championship and NCAA tournament bid.
Logie said Ben College is a young player to watch. The versatile freshman will back up Kenny Love, ’17, and Kyle Roach, ’19, at guard. Sears and fellow senior Christian Jurlina see potential in 6’9” freshman Benjamin Nick as a backup to Sears and Ben Bishop, ’19, in the post. Players appreciate the energy of junior transfer Brandon Kohler, and Logie said Pirate fans will love his passion.
With a strong senior class, new additions and a strong schedule Whitworth has an excellent chance to compete for the first national championship in school history.