Late goal lifts Whitworth

Ubben’s fourth match winner of the season helps Pirates fend off upset-minded Whitman College

by Korey Hope

The Whitworth men’s soccer team, ranked 11th in the nation, defeated Whitman 1-0 in two overtimes last Saturday, moving its record on the season to an undefeated 9-0-2 (6-0-1 NWC). Sophomore forward Robby Ubben had the game winner in the 106th minute of play to lift the Bucs to the victory.

Saturday’s goal was the team-leading fourth on the season for Ubben, all of which have been game winners.

“Hard work pays off in the end,” Ubben said. “My strength is working hard.”

Despite a losing record in conference play, Whitman has shown upset potential by knocking off previously undefeated University of Puget Sound on Sept. 29.

Holding the opposing team scoreless was nothing new for the Pirates, having done so in nine of their 11 games this season. Senior goalkeeper Kyle Novak had five saves for the Bucs, including a game-saving block just before the end of regulation.

Whitworth controlled most of the game in terms of possession and shots on goal. However, in the overtime periods Whitman earned its fair share of offensive opportunities, even edging Whitworth in shots on goal during the first overtime, 3-1.

But in the second overtime, the Bucs found a breakthrough. Playing much more solid defense, the Pirates did not allow a single shot on goal. With only five minutes remaining in the game, freshman forward Samuel Engle collected the ball near midfield, and found a striding Ubben around the top of the box, who calmly put it by Whitman’s goalkeeper.

“I was working on the left side of the field defensively, and David [Starkovich] worked hard to poke the ball away,” Engle said. “I was able to turn out and find Robby [Ubben] and thankfully he scored.”

It was Engle’s first assist on the season to go along with his three goals for the year.

“Engle popped out with the ball, and I saw the defense spring toward him,” Ubben said. “So I went outside which left me wide open and I was able to slot it past the keeper.”

The goal sparked a full team celebration, as Whitworth players rushed onto the field to dogpile on Ubben and celebrate the dramatic victory.

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