by Josiah VanWingerden
Two of the top teams in the Northwest Conference visited the Whitworth Soccer Field in Spokane Saturday and Sunday. The Pirates lost to the University of Puget Sound Loggers 1-0, before losing to the Pacific Lutheran Lutes, 2-0.
The Loggers scored the only goal early in the second half during Saturday afternoon’s game. Puget Sound’s Junior midfielder Grayson Williams-Krebs snuck an unassisted goal by the goalkeeper five minutes into the half.
The Pirates’ aggressive defense was able to keep pace with the Loggers fast style of play. The majority of the second half was played on Puget Sound’s side of the field.
Statistically, each team attempted 10 shots a piece. The Loggers held a slight 6-5 advantage in corner kicks, while the Pirates committed only one foul to the Loggers’ four.
The Pirates came close to tying the game on several occasions throughout, and looked to attack aggressively for Sunday’s game.
“I thought we attacked really well,” senior midfielder DeNae Vandam said. “[We] had a couple good opportunities on goal; we just need to finish those tomorrow.”
Despite the loss to Puget Sound, the Pirates’ focus was on the positives of the game.
“I think we had some moments of brilliance on the field today, and we had some moments where maybe we weren’t as good as we could’ve been,” head coach Jael Hagerott said. “But I’m very pleased with the effort that we put in consistently.”
However, the ‘moments of brilliance’ did not translate onto the field Sunday afternoon against Pacific Lutheran, as the Pirates lost their third in a row.
The Lutes boast the leading-scorer in the Northwest Conference, Machaela Graddy, and the top goalkeeper, Takara Mitsui.
Sophomore Ashley Mindnich scored the game’s first goal for the Lutes in the 39th minute of the first half, coming out of a corner kick. Senior forward Jamie Hoffman followed that with a well-executed goal from nine yards out in the 88th minute, effectively ending the game.
However, senior goalkeeper Andrea Stump kept the Pirates in the game by diving to block a penalty kick. Additionally, Stump made two other saves.
The Lutes held on to two key advantages throughout the game, outshooting the Pirates 15-10, while also shooting three times as many corner kicks, 6-2.
The Pirates, however, were pleased with the overall team effort.
“Overall, I would say we were fairly solid defensively,” Hagerott said. “We took a few injuries that affected what we did on the field at times, but we were pleased with the effort of the team.”
Even though the Pirates were out-matched, they never stopped fighting. Defensively, they didn’t allow the Lutes to control the middle of the field or dominate possession, as they are accustomed to in most games.
“I thought the way we responded to the first goal especially was really great,” team captain Sarah Mickelsen said. “Right now I’m super proud of our hard work, and we don’t quit. So I think that’s something that can be built on, just keep working hard.”
The women’s soccer team travels to Portland, Oregon, on Saturday to face the Lewis & Clark Pioneers in a non-conference match-up.
Contact Josiah VanWingerden at email@example.com