by Whitney Carter
The Whitworth women’s soccer team was able to maintain their undefeated status after two close games at home this weekend against Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound.
Through several conference matches, Whitworth is the lone undefeated squad, posting a 6-0-1 conference record. This past weekend, the Pirates battled other conference title contenders in UPS and PLU, who sit third and fourth respectively in the standings.
In a game last Saturday against PLU, both teams fought hard and the match ended in a tie after 20 minutes of sudden-death overtime.
There was a moment of tension in the 30th minute when freshman forward Tiara Pajimola, Whitworth’s leading scorer, collided with PLU’s goalkeeper. The goalkeeper gave Pajimola a nudge after a breakaway near the mouth of PLU’s goal.
“There’s nothing I can do about it if the ref’s not going to call it,” Pajimola said about the push.
Much of the play occurred in the midfield. Each team got shots and breakaways, but neither dominated. Whitworth had four shots in the first half and PLU had six.
Whitworth had the first goal of the match in the 34th minute. Pajimola sped past the PLU defense and took a shot off a bouncing pass from senior defender Kelsey Griswold. The shot went to the upper left corner of the goal.
The Lutes responded with a goal in the 79th minute of the match. Whitworth came back with another goal in the 82nd minute. Sophomore midfielder Jackie Day hit the cross to senior forward Katrin Grant who headed the ball in from the right side for her first goal of the season.
PLU was able to counter with a header goal of their own off of a corner kick and force the game into sudden-death overtime. Despite a couple of scoring opportunities for both teams, the match ended in a 2-2 tie.
“We created part of our own problem in terms of we had some players that didn’t step up when we needed them to step up and we ended up paying the price for that,” head coach Jael Hagerott said. “In overtime the girls played well, fought hard.”
Overall, the Pirates outshot the Lutes 16-9.
Sunday’s match slated the Bucs against the University of Puget Sound. The game started well, with both teams having excellent chances at scoring, but neither dominating the other.
Whitworth scored in the 55th minute. Grant hit a pass forward to Pajimola, who was able to control it, dribble past two defenders and strike the ball into the lower left corner of the goal.
“Andrea was just solid. Her hands were solid, her feet, overall and that just gives us confidence in the back and allows us to absorb more pressure,” Haggerott said of freshman keeper Andrea Stump.
Stump had five saves on goal, four of which came in the first half.
”Personally I was happy with my performance,” Stump said. “Shutouts are always good. Of course there’s always some mistakes you can improve on, but over all I think everyone played really well today.”
Despite a push by the UPS offense, Whitworth was able to hold onto its lead and win the game. They are now 6-0-1 in conference.
Next the Bucs are on the road against Linfield Oct. 6 at noon. Linfield is a legitimate threat to the Pirates, sitting in second place behind Whitworth in the NWC standings.
“I’m excited to play Linfield, they’ve looked like they’ve been the team to beat so I’m excited to get out there and knock them off their little pedestal,” Stump said.
Contact Whitney Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org.