Bucs earn pair of crucial NWC victories

Whitworth and Linfield remain tied atop conference with four games to play The women’s soccer team won a thriller in sudden death overtime at home on Saturday against Pacific University and followed the win up with a victory over George Fox University at home.

The Pirates are tied with the Linfield Wildcats for first place in the NWC as four conference games remain on the schedule for each team.

On Saturday, the weather was harsh in Spokane and impacted the game.

“It was rough, it was cold and windy,” freshman forward Tiara Pajimola said. “But we did what we always do; come together as a team when we need it the most.”

The lone goal of the match came in the seventh minute of sudden death overtime. Freshman forward Hannah Bokma received a cross in the six-yard box and hit  a header into the upper left corner of the goal. The cross came from senior defender Carly Schilperoort after she took it down the line, passing multiple defenders.

The goal was Bokma’s second of the season.

“Hannah did a great job finishing, it was a great pass by Carly, and our defensives line [did well], Jamie coming up and working the ball up with me,” Pajimola said. “We were able to get the corner off. We worked well as a team.”

The contest was a tough matchup for the Bucs as they continue to contend for a conference title against Pacific squad that was 5-7-3 overall.

“Pacific’s always really physical and we just had to hang in there,” freshman goalkeeper Andrea Stump said. “Obviously it went to overtime which was kind of tough. But we just kept our heads about us and stayed composed and ended up on top.”

Whitworth out-shot the Boxers 6-1 in the second half and 15-5 overall.

“We worked the ball well,” head coach Jael Hagerott said. “We created a lot of scoring opportunities.”

Sunday slated the Bucs against the George Fox Bruins. The Bruins were in last place with a 1-9 record.

“It was definitely a battle,” senior midfielder Mackenzie Grow said. “It shows that we have to play well against any team the whole time or they’ll come right back at us.”

Whitworth outshot the Bruins 19-8.

“Overall it was a good performance by the team in terms of how we worked the ball,” said Hagerott.

The Bucs scored their first goal of the match in the 23rd minute. Grow passed a ball up the middle to Pajimola who was able to get a shot in the lower corner of the goal.

In the second half, the Bruins put more pressure on the Bucs and were able to get a goal to tie up the match in the 77th minute. The Pirates responded with a goal in the 81st minute of the match to clinch the victory.

In the 82nd minute, Pajimola dribbled up the sideline, beating George Fox defenders and striking a ball in the air behind Bokma. Bokma was able to twist her body and get a foot on the ball which sailed above the George Fox goalkeeper’s hands and into the goal.

The game ended 2-1 and brought the Bucs to a  9-1-2 record in conference.

The Bucs will be on the road as they face Willamette and Lewis & Clark this weekend.

“They’re both rough teams, they’ll fight; they’ll be scrappy for the ball,” Grow said. “We have to come out ready to play.”

The few final matches will determine the postseason for the Bucs, as only the first place team moves on and the Bucs are competing for that top spot with Linfield. Each team has four regular season matches remaining, and will play one another to conclude the season.

Whitney Carter Staff Writer

Contact Whitney Carter at wcarter15@my.whitworth.edu