Whitworth’s men’s soccer team stayed in the hunt for a conference title this past weekend with two wins, taking care of business in front of their home crowd in an offensive outburst. The Pirates outscored their opponents by a total of 8-1 in the two matches. A rainy Saturday and slick field didn’t stop the Pirates from scoring four times on their way to a 4-1 victory over George Fox University.
Freshman forward Robby Ubben led Whitworth offensively, scoring two goals to pace the Pirates.
“It’s a good sign; what we like about his goals are that they are scrappy in the box,” Coach Bushey said of Ubben. “They bounce free, and he’s there to finish and that’s what we need. [He] puts himself in good positions and he’s a handful.”
Ubben and his Pirate teammates put pressure on the George Fox defense early and often, with several shots that just missed the net in the first half of the contest. The Bucs had a 1-0 lead heading into halftime thanks to a goal by Ubben in the 37th minute that was assisted by sophomore midfielder Anders Nostdahl and junior midfielder Ryan Wood.
Senior defender Taylor Willi scored his second goal of the season in the match’s 53rd minute on a strike from well outside the box that arced over the Bruin keeper and into the top left corner of the net, drawing an impressed reaction of “ohs” and “ahs” from the crowd.
After the Bruins capitalized on one of their few offensive opportunities with a goal in the 57th minute, the Bucs were quick to respond with another goal of their own to make the score 3-1.
It was Ubben again, scoring his second goal of the contest and third in his last two games. The freshman forward put away a loose ball that had deflected off the hands of the George Fox keeper to extend the Pirate lead.
Sophomore midfielder Andrew French also helped the Bucs’ offensive prowess, with a 73rd minute goal, his second of the year, extending the lead to 4-1. French finished a ball that once again deflected off the Bruin keeper, kicking the ball into the net from a few feet away.
Senior midfielder JT Meyer attributed Whitworth’s direct attack to the offensive success.
“Going direct, you know Robby is a big guy, so is Koa [Kekoa Mountcastle], just finding our front-runners to win in the air,” senior midfielder JT Meyer said of the Whitworth offensive success. “Just go more direct; that’s what got us the goals.”
The Pirates matched their offensive output Sunday, earning a 4-0 victory over Pacific University. Sophomore midfielder Sam Selisch matched Ubben’s offensive performance from the day before, scoring two goals to lead the Pirates offensively.
Whitworth’s first goal came in the 12th minute, when senior midfielder Nate Spangler scored his fourth goal of the year on an assist from Meyer.
The early goal was something Whitworth lacked in their contest the previous day against George Fox.
“Against George Fox we had a ton of chances and couldn’t score one,” senior defender Dion Coxe said. “Today getting that first one was important, kind of breaks the nerves and then you’re just comfortable and keep attacking.”
Senior midfielder Cameron Bushey then wowed the crowd with a free kick goal from the top of the 18-yard box in the 17th minute. He showed the Boxer defense why he is Whitworth’s free kick specialist, curving his strike around the Pacific player wall and past the diving keeper into the lower left hand corner of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
“Any time we have a dead ball in a shooting area it’s a threat, and it makes it harder for other teams to defend,” Coxe said of Bushey’s skill set in dead ball situations. “They can’t just foul us around the box, if they do they have to worry about that.”
Selisch continued the offensive onslaught for Whitworth, scoring his two goals within five minutes of one another in the 27th and 31st minutes of the match. His first goal came off a rebounded shot attempt, while French assisted the second.
No goals were scored in the second half of play. Many starters for both teams were substituted out of the contest after Whitworth jumped out to the quick first-half lead, but the Pirates continued to create offensive opportunities, controlling possession and firing eight shots in the second half.
The Pirates have three regular season contests remaining as they try to catch Pacific Lutheran University in the conference standings. PLU has a one game lead over Whitworth, who will play their final three games at home where they have outscored their opponents 11-2.
By Andrew Forhan
Photo By Greg Moser