by Anesu Mujenge | Staff Writer
After losing 2-0 against Willamette this Saturday, the Pirates bounced back in tremendous fashion to beat seventh place Lewis & Clark College 5-1. The Pirates now have nineteen points on the table, and are now one point behind league leaders Pacific Lutheran University.
Mental strength was key in shaking off the rust from Saturday’s performance. An energetic start from Lewis & Clark led to a shot on target five mins into the first half. The initial Pioneer’s play was characterized by long dynamic passes. In typical Pirate fashion, they reciprocated the intensity, with triangle passes keeping the Pioneers off the ball. The wide pitch made for expansive wing play, as the Pirates sought to utilize wide spaces to open up the gaps in the Pioneer’s defense.
With the pressure mounting on the Pioneers, the Pirates increased the tempo of their possession play, and soon were rewarded for it. Following robust wing play and an incisive low cross from Jadyn Baumgartner, ‘21, Leah Corra, ‘18, tucked the ball into the bottom left corner of the net, following her right footed shot inside the penalty box to score her sixth goal of the season.
While Baumgartner continued to exploit gaps, midfielders Kelly Wucherer, ‘19, and Michelle Whan, ‘18, dictated the midfield with precise passing. Control in the midfield increased the Pirate’s confidence and Courtney Potter, ‘18, scored a phenomenal goal in the box following exhilarating wing play that epitomized her performances this season. The offensive onslaught did not stop there. A minute before half time, Potter’s offensive acumen resulted in her being fouled in the penalty box. The Pirates were subsequently awarded a penalty, which midfielder Coby Yoshimura, ‘19, comfortably slotted past the keeper to put the Pirates 3-0 up at halftime.
The second half opened with the Pioneers eager to provide their home crowd with a spectacular comeback. A bounce-back seemed on the cards, as the Pioneers scored a well worked goal five minutes into the second half to make the score 3-1. As the pace increased, so did the aggression. Yellow cards and injuries littered the second half. The game opened up significantly, as both defenders struggled to keep up with successional offensive play. The pirates retained their composure and displayed their professionalism, as McKenzie Hemp, ‘18, scored a great goal in the 67th minute. The Pirates further displayed their offensive arsenal with another goal in the 81st minute by Ivahnna Espinoza, ‘20. The pressure went on right into the last minute. Despite a tremendous display of grit, the Pirates held the Pioneers off to keep the score 5-1 at full time.
The Pirates anticipate another weekend of hard fought games as they take on George Fox and Pacific (Ore) on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The Pirates are eager to propel this momentum forward as they seek to regain top spot.