Battle of Whits

by Allison Kulikowski | Staff Writer

In a competitive Wednesday afternoon game, the Whitworth women’s soccer team defeated Whitman in a score of 3-1 to move to an overall record of 4-1-2.

In this first home game of the season, the Lady Bucs performed in a competitive fashion, exciting the crowd of supporters. Every defensive player met Whitman with aggression while the forwards advanced the ball with speed and tenacity.

It did not take long to score the first goal; just ten minutes into the first half when senior forward Arielle Van Peursem, assisted by Brixaida Mendoza, shot a goal on a break away push up the field. Setting the tone for the early part of the match, Van Peursem attempted a goal, just missing the post, only five minutes later.

After the early excitement, both teams settled into a rhythm for the rest of the half. Juniors Annie Clark and Ivahnna Espinoza each shot at the goal, while senior goalie Molly Webster blocked a Whitman attempt. By halftime, the score remained 1-0 with six shots on goal for the Pirates and only one for the Blues.

As the second half began, Webster saved another shot at the Pirate’s goal in the first five minutes. Once again, both teams worked the field looking for openings until a scrappy play resulted in another goal for the Lady Bucs. Van Peursem kicked the ball into Whitman’s Bryanna Schreiber’s arms, only for her to drop it and Senior Coby Yoshimura batted the ball back into the net.

Just two minutes later, Whitman defenders scored a point for the Pirates, pushing it back into the net while scrambling to secure the ball. Meanwhile, Webster blocked two more shots and watched as the ball hit the crossbar of the goal and flew away.

Whitman’s only point came for Sofia Ellington’s penalty goal. The final score was 3-1 and the Bucs had twice as many shots on goal as the Blues.

“In the first half especially, we did a good job of connecting passes to feet and did not let Whitman out of there half which shows how well we can keep the ball,” Van Peursem said. She went onto explain that the focus for the year is “consistency,” and “loving each other through our work.

Van Peursem is no stranger to consistency,having been a part of both the soccer team and business club for each other four years at Whitworth, as well as the track team for at least two.

In addition to competing in her final year of soccer, Van Peursem is the active president of the Business Club and works part time for Learfield Company. To say she is busy would be an understatement, but she claims it has been “a learning process” this year.

“I drive off of being busy,” Van Peursem said, “but it is hard. There are trade-offs and sacrifices when balancing academic work, soccer, and the club, as well as sleep.”

The Lady Bucs face off against Willamette in Oregon to start a two game road trip which will conclude against Linfield on Sunday.