by Allison Kulikowski | Staff Writer
The Whitworth boys’ soccer team began a three-game losing streak to conference teams Linfield, Willamette, and Whitman.
On the weekend of Sept. 29, the team traveled to Oregon to play Willamette on Saturday and Linfield on Sunday. Having lost their conference title last year, it was key weekend to build momentum going into the second half of the season. However, they lost both games without scoring a goal in either. The loses dropped them to three wins and two losses in conference play.
The Willamette game was a physically aggressive one in which eight yellow cards and two red cards were recorded. In fact, two Willamette players were ejected while two Pirates, Aaron Yanagi and Zanskar Blair, received warnings.
At halftime, the score of the game was still 0-0, with strong pushes on either side and defensive plays by goalies on both sides. In the second half, however, Bearcat player Max Berner-Hays scored two goals to lift Willamette to victory. Despite attempting four shots on goal in the final thirty minutes, Bearcat goalie Mason Kelliher kept the Pirates at a score of zero.
The next day, the Pirates kicked off against the Linfield Wildcats in McMinnville, Oregon. Despite a score of 1-0 in favor of Linfield at the end of the first half, the Pirates led the charge in offensive play with almost double the amount of shots taken than the Wildcats, showing Pirate ability to develop the plays and set up the shots.
Linfield’s first shot came at the end of the first half when Pirate goalie blocked a shot on goal, but Dayton Farrow was in the right spot to get the ball into the goal. Going into halftime down by one goal, the Pirates came back into the second forty-five minutes of play with tenacity and fierceness. As a team, Whitworth attempted thirteen shots, seven of which were on goal, each blocked by Wildcat goalie, Chase Reidt. Malachi Stalberg scored Linfield’s second and final goal in the sixty-seventh minute.
Although the Pirates took a couple of tough losses on the road, the team had an entire week to shift focus and prepare for a match against Whitman on Saturday, Oct. 6.
The Pirates snapped their scoreless streak in the second half with a goal by Ethan Kem. This tied the game after a Whitman goal in the first half. No more goals were scored in the last twenty minutes, sending the match to overtime.
In the ninety-first minute, just into overtime, Whitman’s Joe Thompson kicked a deflected shot back into the goal. This extra point won the game for the Blues, and was their second overtime win on the Whitworth soccer field this season.
The loss to Whitman moved the Pirates to an overall record of 4-7-1 and a conference record of 3-3-1. The team is currently fourth in Northwest Conference standings, two games behind Whitman.
The team takes the field once more on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Whitworth soccer field. They will try to redeem themselves against Linfield.