by Jessica Razanadrakoto
Last weekend, the Whitworth women’s soccer team dropped a pair of conference matches with a 2-0 loss to Linfield and their 2-1 loss to Pacific.
The rain was a factor last Saturday, creating a slippery field, which caused players from both teams to occasionally lose footing and have trouble making passes.
The Wildcats employed an aggressive strategy early in the game, building defensive pressure against the Pirates that prevented them from scoring. On the other hand, Linfield took two shots on goal in the first ten minutes of the game.
“I don’t think we came out as strong as we could have,” sophomore forward Tiara Pajimola said. “We knew that Linfield was going to be a tough opponent and I think we were mentally but not physically prepared.”
Wildcat forward Emily Fellows, who is the reigning NWC Offensive Player of the Year, brought a 1-0 lead to Linfield in the 16th minute with a goal. The Pirates continued to have trouble finding space on the field to generate offensive production.
“Linfield is a very good team, very talented and at the same time, we made things easy for them,” Head Coach Jael Hagerott said.
Later on, Fellows scored another goal at the 21 minute mark for her 10th goal through seven games. Linfield ended up outshooting Whitworth 13-0 in the first half.
“I was not pleased with our performance in the first half at all,” Hagerott said. “We were afraid, we dropped off, we didn’t get in their face, we gave them space to work, and we were punished for it.”
As the second half got under way, the Pirates buckled down on their defensive game. While Whitworth prevented any further Wildcat scoring, the Pirates had trouble keeping the ball in Wildcat territory on offense.
“I think we fixed something in the second half and I’m happy with the way we ended,” Pajimola said.
Linfield gathered position once again as Linfield keeper Kallina Haase blocked senior defender Jami Hegg’s free kick with six minutes remaining. The Wildcats finished the game with a 19-1 edge in shots and 10-1 in shots on goal.
While the Pirates improved their offensive performance in the game against Pacific on Sunday, it was not enough to come away with a win.
The Pirates started strong and controlled most of the first half of the game, outshooting Pacific 7-3. Pajimola scored her seventh goal of the year in the 17th minute of the game off a throw-in from sophomore midfielder DeNae Vandam, to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
However, the Boxers scored in the 62nd minute off of a long pass to Kara Lankey to tie the match at 1-1.
Just five minutes later, Lankey scored her seventh goal of the season to give Pacific a 2-1 lead. The Pirates were unable to retie the game and both teams finished with an even 10 total shots.
The Pirates continue conference play on the road as they take on Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound.
Contact Jessica Razanadrakoto at email@example.com