Spotted from the Crow's Nest: Wade Gebbers, men's basketball

He may be fairly quiet and reserved, but as captain of the Whitworth men’s basketball team, senior Wade Gebbers may be one of the most respected people on the Whitworth campus. He is, as head men’s basketball coach Matt Logie put it, “our old wily vet on the team.”  And while he has become a role model for his teammates, has maintained strong academics, and begins to start a family of his own, he maintains a maturity beyond his years.

The Gebbers name has a legacy of its own.  It’s hard to be exposed to basketball circles in Washington without hearing the Gebbers name mentioned.  In his sophomore year at Whitworth, Wade was starting alongside his brother, Clay Gebbers, and his cousin Michael Taylor, who went on to become the NCAA Division III National Player of the Year.

“I come from a pretty small town,” Gebbers said.  “Even though we come from a pretty humble family, [Brewster] is now referred to sometimes as ‘Gebbers nation.’”

Now a senior, Gebbers has taken more of a leadership role.

“I used to be more of a distributor, and I still try to do that as a point guard,” Gebbers said. “But I have more responsibility now to make myself and the team better.”

His teammates, however, admire him for his character.

“He leads by example,” junior guard Dustin McConnell said.  “He doesn’t just talk a lot.”

“When we’re on the court, it’s his leadership that gets to you,” freshman guard George Valle said.  “He’ll look you in the eyes during a timeout and say, ‘We need you to score here,’ and you’ll really want to do it.’”

Gebbers’ passion for helping his teammates is almost equalled to his competitive attitude.

“I want to win,” Gebbers said. “But my main focus is to win while doing the right things, like helping my teammates out.”

Logie can tell that much is obvious.

“He’s got that sense for the moment; he’s not afraid of big shots, while he’s also as selfless a player as I’ve ever seen,” Logie said. “It’s a difficult balance.”

While his personality is obvious to those who have known him for so long, the first impressions some of his teammates have of him are a different story.

“There was this game against George Fox,” McConnell said. “And all of a sudden, he just went off for like 20 points in the second half.  That was the first time I thought that, ‘Geez, this guy is good.’”

Valle said his first impression came on his recruiting visit, early last year.

“I was there for a visit and Logie was introducing me to the team right before an open gym practice.  Wade is standing to Logie’s right, but as Logie goes around the circle, he forgets to give Wade an introduction.  He’s sitting there with his glasses on, all quiet and reserved, looking kind of nerdy,” Valle said.

This was only the beginning though, as Valle soon found out. “I’m thinking, ‘Who is this guy?’” Valle said.  “He must be some kind of joke if the coach forgets to introduce him.  I got matched up with him right off and I thought the guys were matching me up with one of the weaker players on the team, being nice to the recruit.  Next thing I know, he’s just lighting me up from all over the place.”

Gebbers might lead one of the most unconventional lives of any athlete at Whitworth.  After getting married in August of this past year, Gebbers is expecting a baby girl in February.

Although his somewhat unorthodox college life is different in comparison to those on the team, Gebbers says that it’s nothing new.

“I’ve never had the same routine as other guys, especially now,” Gebbers said.  “We’ll be in the locker room and guys will be talking about their weekends and what movie they’re going to see that night.  When they end up asking me what my plans are for the evening, I end up telling them that I’m hanging out with my wife and she’s making dinner.  They tell me I’m an old man,” Gebbers said, laughing.

While his early life decisions may fill up his busy life even more, his teammates know that he made them on his own terms.

“He was ready to make that choice to start a family, and I really admire him for that,” McConnell said.

At the same time, Gebbers said that he still wants to be competitive in basketball and pass some of his lessons on to the next generation of Pirate basketball players.

“Above winning, above highlights, what has been most satisfying to me is being a team player,” Gebbers said.  “I want them to enjoy this experience while they have it and understand how special it is to be here.  We’re doing this for each other.”

Connor Soudani Staff Writer

Contact Connor Soudani at csoudani16@my.whitworth.edu.

 

Season ends for Bucs in first round of NCAA tournament

Whitworth loses close contest in Texas against Choctaws of Mississippi College

The Whitworth men’s soccer team saw their season come to an end last Saturday, as they were defeated by Mississippi College 1-0 in a NCAA Division III first round game in San Antonio, Texas.

After clinching the outright Northwest Conference title for the first time since 2009, the Pirates’ first round game took them to Trinity University to face Mississippi College. The Choctaws had a 12-5-2 record on the year, good enough for their first American Southwest Conference title and NCAA Tournament experience in school history. The Pirates, on the other hand, were making their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance.

“It was a really exciting atmosphere,” Whitworth’s senior goalkeeper Kyle Novak said. “It’s always great to be back at the tournament.”

The first half was marked with slow play and a limited number of opportunities for either side. Only five of the 18 shots in the game occurred in the first half, including only one on target by Choctaw senior midfielder Hugo Flores in the first five minutes of the game. The teams went into the half at a stalemate.

Going into the half without allowing a goal was nothing new for the Pirates, having only given up two first half goals all year. Mississippi College has also done well defensively in the first half of games, allowing only six first-half goals on the season; however, this season the Choctaws gave up 19 second-half goals, and the Pirates looked to exploit Mississippi College’s typically weak second half defense. Whitworth threw seven shots at the Choctaw junior goalkeeper Robert Jackson, forcing him to make all four of his saves in the second half.

Mississippi College brought pressure of their own in the second half, winning a throw-in deep in Pirate territory in the 53rd minute of play. Junior forward Wesley Noble launched the throw into the box, where it was flicked on by junior midfielder Harrison Russell to senior forward Diego Ayala, who headed it past the Bucs’ goalkeeper Kyle Novak for a 1-0 lead. It was the sixth goal the senior had allowed in 18 games this year, which is part of the reason he had the fourth best goals against average  in the nation upon entering the match.

“He had a very good season,” head coach Sean Bushey said. “Whatever he does he wants to do it well, and he was certainly an important part of this year’s success.” With their season on the line, the Pirates began to press even harder on the offensive side of the pitch, firing seven of their nine total shots. Sophomore forward Robby Ubben, who led the team with seven goals this year, also led the team in shots throughout the game, owning one-third of Whitworth’s shots in the game.

The Pirates’ best opportunity, perhaps, came through Ubben, who received a pass in-stride between two Mississippi College defenders. Jackson, the Choctaw goalkeeper, saw that Ubben was through and left his goal line to greet Ubben about 12 yards out from the goal. The two players slid and collided on the ground, as the ball rolled out of play off the endline.

“I took a big touch and it went farther than I would have hoped, so I slid to try and get a touch on it,” Ubben said. “It was unfortunate because it was one of my better chances.”

Jackson took the worst of of collision, and remained on the ground for about a minute before returning to his goal with the help of Choctaw trainers.

Although the Pirates had the second half edge in shots, Mississippi College had one less shot than Whitworth, with their best chance to seal the deal coming in the final three minutes. Russell, who assisted the Choctaw goal, struck a shot from inside the box on a counter-attack, requiring Novak to come up with a save.

“I was focused on doing my job,” Novak said. “And the whole team continued to work hard every minute of the game.”

Despite the late acrobatic save to keep the Pirates in the game, time ran out on Whitworth, bringing their season to sudden halt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“The work and the energy and focus throughout the season was excellent,” Bushey said. “They definitely deserved to go to the tournament.”

The Bucs’ senior class had five players, including Novak. However, he is the only senior on the starting squad, meaning the Pirates will return nearly all of this year’s starters next season. Junior goalkeeper Nate Bell will graduate this year academically, but he still has one year of eligibility left and is undecided about whether he will return next season.

“That is still to be determined,” Bushey said. “He has academic plans and goals and they will always come first.”

Looking ahead to next year, Bushey says he always sees positive things coming in the future.

“Our outlook is always the same,” Bushey said. “We look forward to competing next season, but there is still a lot of hard work to be done and a lot of fun playing to be had.”

Korey Hope Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu.

Volleyball splits on the road to end on a high note

Whitworth volleyball split games on the road the weekend of Nov. 2, losing to the Pacific Boxers 3-2 before finishing the season with a win against the Linfield Wildcats 3-1.

The Pirates found themselves in a hole to start the match as Pacific quickly went up 5-0. Whitworth steadily made its way back, forcing 12 ties and three lead changes in the set, including a run of three kills in a row from junior outside hitter Jalana White to tie the game at 15. The Bucs took their first lead of the night off of a Boxer attack error and then carried on to win the set 25-22.

“We fought really hard,” White said. “We didn’t start out strong but we finished strong and pulled it together about halfway through the set.”

Pacific jumped ahead again in the second set 6-3 but Whitworth came back again, taking the lead 10-9 on a kill from junior outside hitter Abi Hedlund. The Boxers trailed the Pirates before coming back to tie the game at 22 and then 23, then a kill from junior middle blocker and Pacific errors gave Whitworth a 25-23 win.

Whitworth got down in the third set 6-3 but fought back with kills from Hedlund and junior middle blocker Briauna Stadeli and an ace from freshman setter Maddye Dinsmore to tie the set at 14. The Bucs went up 18-15 before Pacific went on a run to win the set 25-21.

“Our communication fluctuates,” junior libero Whitney Santos said. “Sometimes we’ll be really loud and positive, sometimes we’ll be really quiet and that was the key factor in our change in play.”

Pacific kept the momentum and took advantage of a single lead change in the fourth set to gain control of the lead and win 25-21, tying the match 2-2 and forcing a fifth set.

The Boxers took the lead in the final set 5-2 but the Pirates challenged that when a kill from Hedlund and a kill from White followed by a service ace tied the game 8-8. Pacific shut down the run before Whitworth could challenge any more to win the final set 15-10.

“We took them to five games and it was a tough match,” Santos said. “We played with heart and we played with everything we had and I think that’s what’s so commendable about our team – we always play our hardest and we never give up.”

Despite the loss, Whitworth was able to carry the strong match against Pacific into the game against Linfield the next night and come out to win the first set 25-20.

“We played at about the same pace we did the day before,” head coach Steve Rupe said. ”We were able to finish plays and finish rallies. We just played a solid match.”

The Wildcats led in the beginning of the first set but kills from White, Hedlund and Stadeli gave the Bucs the lead 4-3. Whitworth gradually widened the gap, with its largest lead at 22-12 on a service ace from sophomore defensive specialist Katie Adams, and went on to win 25-16.

Linfield found a rhythm in the third set of the night, taking advantage of Pirate errors early, and went up 2-0. Whitworth worked to take the lead away, going on 6-0 and 4-0 scoring runs, but the Wildcats led the rest of the set to win 25-23.

A kill from junior middle blocker Kristine Kardell put the Pirates up 1-0 to start the fourth set. Whitworth pushed to control the speed and the Wildcats kept up through the whole game to force multiple match points in a set with a total of 14 ties.

“Every time they tied it up with us we sided right back out,” Rupe said. “We finally broke through with a side out and then made good defensive plays.”

At 27-27, the Bucs’ final sideout came from a kill by freshman outside hitter Nicole Leonard, followed by a kill from Hedlund to end the match 29-27.

Whitworth finished the season with a record of 10-13 overall and 6-10 in conference, and the last half of the season proved to be promising for the year to come.

“We had a rough start to the year and there’s a lot of adversity that happened on our team,” Santos said. “To know that we’re good enough to compete with good teams and since we’re all coming back, that’s just really exciting for us.”

Megan John Staff Writer

Contact Megan John at mjohn16@my.whitworth.edu.

Men’s golf takes first at NWC Fall Classic

The men’s golf team  concluded a tough tournament outing this weekend to finish first in the conference at the Northwest Conference Fall Classic at the Tri-Mountain Golf Course. After the first day of competition, Whitworth led the University of Puget Sound by one stroke with a score of 301.  On the second day, Whitworth pulled ahead to beat Puget Sound by 19 strokes with a second round score of 286.

“We pretty much knew it was going to be the usual top five teams for us to compete with,” head coach Warren Friedrichs said.  “All in all, everybody played very well.”

Junior Jesse Salzwedel shot 73, 70 to finish first for the men and second overall in the conference.  Junior Stephen Plopper and freshman Lyle Rudnicki both finished tied for second overall for the Pirates and tied for fifth overall, with Plopper shooting 72, 75 and Rudnicki shooting 80, 67.  Lyle Rudnicki’s second round score of 67 ended up being the best individual round of the tournament.  Freshman Oliver Rudnicki tied for tenth overall shooting 76, 74 and Freshman Samson Martinez rounded out the scoring for the men’s team shooting 80, 79.

The first day of the tournament was met with heavy rain, but the second day was calmer .

“The rain held off until the last three holes this time around, and thus, our scores ended up being much better,” Friedrichs said.

Jesse Salzwedel had a strong performance in returning to the lineup for the first time since the Lewiston Triangular on Sept. 15.  However, Friedrichs says that he wasn’t surprised with Salzwedel’s performance.

“He’s been like that, always a great tournament player,” Friedrichs said.

Salzwedel indicated that the time off would have been a problem, except for a number of reasons.

“It wasn’t as different [coming back] as I thought it would be,” Salzwedel said.  “I’d been in conference tournaments before in high positions so I was able to find my groove early on.”

His presence was also felt by his teammates who enjoyed his veteran leadership.

“Jesse did a good job of motivating us this weekend,” Lyle Rudnicki said.  “He gave us a pep talk before the match that made us feel a lot better.”

However, Salzwedel was not the only one who made an impact that day.  The three freshmen on the Whitworth team came in and played resiliently.

“It was good to see that when one round wasn’t so good, they could come back and play better in the next,” Friedrichs said.  “We really needed everybody today and we got them.”

Thus, the freshmen had strong and crucial play down the stretch that heavily contributed  to the team win.

“I was super stoked to see the maturity of these freshmen after the first round,” Salzwedel said.  “They stepped up and played really great in the second round to contribute to a phenomenal team score.”

Going into competition this weekend, with five teams having a shot at the title, the Pirates stayed focused on what they could control.

“We needed to play how we were capable of playing,” Lyle Rudnicki said.  “We knew that we could go out there and win the tournament.”

Despite the individual confidence of the players, team play really governed their mindset going in.

“It wasn't all about one person shooting well, it was about everyone contributing and putting up a good score when they were needed most," Lyle Rudnicki said.

As the men’s team concludes the fall season with the conference championship, the men will have an advantage in points as they approach the spring season with the rest of the conference teams.

“To win like we did was good,” Friedrichs said.  “Now we have to turn our attention to the spring classic.”

“Mentally, this is huge for us,” Lyle Rudnicki said.  “As freshmen, winning our first NWC Fall Classic gives us a lot of confidence going forward.”

“We need to remain patient now.  Just because we won, doesn’t mean we’re going to nationals,” Salzwedel said.  “We just have to keep an optimistic attitude and trust that things will come out the way they’re supposed to.”

The Whitworth men’s team will continue competition in the spring.

Connor Soudani Staff Writer

Contact Connor Soudani at csoudani16@my.whitworth.edu.

Men’s soccer clinches NWC title

Whitworth men's soccer team clinched the 2012 Northwest Conference title, despite losing two of its final three games of the regular season.

In the first game, the Pirates faced a Willamette team with five conference losses on the year, including one to the Whitworth earlier in the season. The Pirates needed only one more conference victory in their final three match-ups to clinch the NWC crown. Willamette's Trevor Jensen led the Bearcats with two assists and a goal, his eighth and fifth on the season, respectively.

Jensen wasted no time putting the Pirates under pressure, assisting teammate Tyler Yates to his third goal on the year in the 27th minute, putting Willamette up 1-0. Jensen put the Bearcats up 2-0 all by himself just after halftime, firing a shot from about 30 yards out and beating Pirate senior goalkeeper Kyle Novak. Although holding a 2-0 lead, Willamette did not show they were a second half team this year, allowing 25 goals in the second period of games as opposed to only three in the first period of games.

The Bucs contributed to that fact, storming back for two goals in the second half, sending the game to overtime. Sophomore forward Robby Ubben scored just after the hour mark on an assist by freshman defender Spencer Wolfe. Junior defender Balin Larson had the second goal for the Pirates, slotting away a penalty kick in the 82nd minute of play.

Willamette pushed on in the first period of overtime and found the game-winner from Austin Jacobson, assisted by Jensen. Although the Pirates lost for the first time this season, the bigger picture still allowed two more chances for the Bucs to clinch the 2012 NWC crown.

The second to last game of the season slated Whitworth against the Linfield Wildcats (7-9, 5-7 NWC). The Pirates faced off against Linfield in their first regular season game of the year, beating the Wildcats 2-0. Last weekend's match saw a closely contested game throughout, with Linfield matching Whitworth's shots on goal. However, the Bucs' pressure on the Wildcat defense and a pass from junior defender Andrew Flint opened up a shot opportunity for freshman forward Karl Muelheims, who shot it low to the near post, beating Linfield goalkeeper Scott Goodman in the 50th minute.

“[Flint] played it to me and my initial thought was to dump it in the box,” Muelheims said. “But once I pushed the ball past the defender I felt like I had time to get a shot off, so I took it and it went near post low corner.”

The goal turned out to be enough for the Conference title, as senior goalkeeper Kyle Novak and the Pirates' defense posted their 13th shutout of the year. It was the first time Whitworth won the Northwest Conference title outright since the 2009 season.

The final game of the season for Whitworth sent the Pirates to face Whitman in Walla Walla, Wash. Head coach Sean Bushey did not play a single regular starter in the game, giving less-experienced players more time on the field. And even yet, the Bucs still put up a fight, coming back from a one goal deficit to tie the game with less than 15 minutes remaining.

Sophomore midfielder Tyler Clarke saved the day for the Pirates, putting away a breakaway chance assisted by senior forward Kekoa Mountcastle.

But Whitman was not to be denied, seizing the game-winner just four and a half minutes into the overtime period, on a header by substitute Joe Virden that beat the back-up junior goalkeeper Nate Bell. Bell made just his fourth appearance of the season, and made eight saves throughout the match.

The Pirates are now preparing for a postseason run, with their first round game in the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament being hosted by Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, this Saturday Nov. 10. The Bucs will face Mississippi College, the American Southwest Conference champions with a 12-5-2 record on the year.

Korey Hope Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu.

Alumni edge whitworth men’s basketball team

The Whitworth men’s basketball team took part in a game against Whitworth alumni basketball players last Friday.  The game proved to be a close one as the Whitworth men were tied with the Alumni 82-82 at the end of regulation.  Through five minutes of overtime, the Alumni took control and beat the Whitworth men 96-91.  Sophomore post Taylor Farnsworth led the Pirates with 16 points followed by junior guard Dustin McConnell with 15 and freshman guard George Valle with 14.

The men are ranked 14th nationally in the  D3hoops.com preseason men’s basketball poll. The Pirates will look for new contributions this season after the loss of All-Northwest Conference post Felix Friedt, All-NWC forward Idris Lasisi, along with forward Jack Loofburrow and post Michael Taylor.

The Pirates will begin their next matchup on Nov. 6 when they play Idaho State in Pocatello, Idaho.

Connor Soudani Staff Writer

Contact Connor Soudani at csoudani16@my.whitworth.edu.

Women’s cross country takes third at conference race

The Whitworth women’s cross country team took home third place at the Northwest Conference Championships last weekend in Forest Grove, Ore. The finish was good enough to send them to the 2012 NCAA Division III West Regionals this coming Saturday, Nov. 10, hosted by Willamette. Junior Elisabeth Spencer set the tone for the Pirates, finishing 5th overall with a time of 23:13 in the 6k race. Spencer was followed by freshman Kellyn Roiko and sophomore Christina Anderson, who finished 16th and 17th, respectively.

Spencer said she spoke with freshman runner Katie McKay before the race, and gathered enough of a pep talk McKay gave her to perform well.

“She races hard so she is collapsing after she crosses the finish line,” Spencer said when asked about McKay. “Because why wouldn't you give it every bit of power you have?”

referred to last year’s team, saying she thinks they have a good chance to outperform their previous postseason runs.

“I knew we were in a better place than last year going in, too,” Spencer said. “The girls were ready to work really hard and had a lot of confidence.”

Senior Celeste Northcott and sophomore Jaclyn Geyer rounded out the top five Pirates, contributing to the Bucs’ regional bid. Lewis & Clark placed first on the women’s side.

Although Whitworth has been dealing with injury woes the majority of the season, nearly all of the team’s top eight runners are healthy, giving the Pirates one of their strongest lineups of the season. The top three team performances at the west regional race are good enough for a national race bid, and the Bucs head into the event ranked 4th in the region.

The race will take place in Salem, Ore. at Willamette University this Saturday, Nov. 10.

Korey Hope Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu.

 

 

Whitworth swimming starts season strong

Coming off of a 2011-2012 in which the men took home their tenth consecutive Northwest Conference title, and the women accomplished their fifth consecutive top-two finish, the Whitworth swim team is back in action in 2012-2013. The season got off to a great start the last weekend in October at the Northwest Conference Invitational in Portland, Ore. The Bucs dominated the relays, taking first place in nine of the 15. The women’s team won relays in the 300-yard breaststroke, 600 and 900-yard freestyle, and the sprint pentathlon. The men won the 300-yard breaststroke, 600 and 900-yard freestyle relays as well, in addition to the 300-yard butterfly.

The women took a dominant first overall. Sophomore Samantha Smith led the women and finished first overall in the meet. Four of the top five individual female finishers were Pirates. Sophomore Nicole Lecoq finished in second place, sophomore Alisa Stang in third, and freshman Hannah Norris finished in fifth.

On the men’s side, Whitworth finished second, after being edged out by Whitman. Junior Aaron Vaccaro finished second for the men and sophomore Callum McIntosh finished sixth.

Last weekend, Whitworth won a pair of NWC dual meets on Friday night against Willamette and on Saturday against Linfield.

On Friday, the Whitworth women took first in all nine individual events, with eight different swimmers contributing. Vaccaro placed first in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly for the men. Junior Mitchell Beck also won two events for the Bucs in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle races.

The Whitworth freshman represented well as Norris, Kori Carpenter, Bridget Louis, and Kyle Wicks all had first place finishes on the night.

The Pirates dominated the pool again on Saturday with routing victories over Linfield. Three women were double-event winners for Whitworth.  Louis took first in the 1000 and 500-yard freestyle races and Stang in the 200 and 100-yard freestyle races. Smith also earned two individual victories in the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard butterfly, separated by only 20 minutes.

The Whitworth men took first place in all nine individual events, with 1-2-3 finishes in seven of those. The men also won the 400-yard medley and the 400-yard freestyle relays.

Next week, the Pirates head back to Oregon to take on Pacific Friday night and Lewis & Clark on Saturday.

Sena Hughes Staff Writer

Contact Sena Hughes at shughes15@my.whitworth.edu.

Whitworth women run to seventh place at Inland Empire Championships

The Whitworth women’s cross country team took seventh place out of ten teams at the Inland Empire Championships last Saturday. The event was hosted by Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho at the Orchards cross country course and featured teams from near and far. Sophomore Christina Anderson finished first for the Pirates in the women’s 5k race that had 107 runners. Anderson came in 40th overall with a time of 19:34, followed closely by junior Elisabeth Spencer who had a time of 19:35 at 41st overall.

Finishing up front is nothing new for these two runners. Last Saturday’s race marked the third time this year, out of four races in which they have both competed, that Anderson and Spencer have finished first and second for Whitworth.

“They have been working hard and leading practices all year,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. “And they are starting to learn to push each other as well.”

Freshman Kellyn Roiko also came in under the 20-minute mark for the Bucs,  finishing with a time of 19:43. Finishing inside the top five Pirates is not out of the ordinary for Roiko, either. Discounting the Runner’s Soul Invitational earlier this year that Schwarz used as a tune-up meet, Roiko has finished fourth or better for Whitworth runners in every race this year.

“We knew she would come in and be a top runner,” Schwarz said. “And as time goes on she will just get better and better.”

The Bucs’ next race will be the Northwest Conference Championships hosted by Pacific University on Oct. 27. Schwarz thinks his team has made improvements since last year, and is expecting to finish higher in the NWC standings than in the previous season.

“It’s the biggest meet of the season,” Schwarz said. “It’s what we train for. We just need to get healthy and be competitive.” The Championships begin at 10 a.m. at the Sunset Grove Golf Course in Forest Grove, Ore.

Korey Hope Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu.

Pirates pass tough road test, remain unbeaten

The 10th-ranked Whitworth men’s soccer team remained undefeated on their road trip to western Washington last weekend, having tied University of Puget Sound 0-0 in two overtimes on Saturday and beating Pacific Lutheran 1-0 on Sunday. These two matches put the Pirates two games clear of PLU in the Northwest Conference standings with only five games remaining for each team in the regular season. It was the Bucs’ second meeting with both teams, and both games yielded nearly exact results as the previous matches. In a scrappy, foul-happy match-up only two weekends prior at the Whitworth soccer field, Whitworth and UPS fought once again to a similar 2OT scoreless draw. The most recent match, however, was a more even one in terms of shots and fouls, with both teams posting similar numbers.

Each team had six shots in the game, but the Bucs failed to get any of those shots on target. It was the second game in a row that the Pirates had been outnumbered in shots on goal, and only the second time all season. However, the defense felt they played one of their better games.

“Defense starts up front and through the midfield,” junior defender Andrew Flint said. “We just defended well as a team.” The Pirates once again did not allow a goal against UPS, and posted their 10th shutout in 12 games this season. The Bucs’ senior goalkeeper Kyle Novak continues to lead the conference in goals against per game, goals against on the season, and save percentage, which is at .935.

“When it comes down to it, he makes big plays,” Flint said. “He has three years of experience under his belt and it makes everyone back there more comfortable.”

Another continuance from the first matchup between these two teams was the number of fouls. Last Saturday’s game provided 32 total fouls, seven more than the teams’ last meeting. The foul count was the second highest the Pirates have seen all year.

“There were more opportunities for fouls with two overtimes and a slippery surface,” Whitworth head coach Sean Bushey said. “But the fouls just go along with the intensity of the game.”

Sunday’s game slated second place PLU against the first place Bucs. The last meeting between the teams saw the Pirates come back from being down 2-1 with just over 30 minutes remaining and win 3-2.

Although the Pirates pulled out the victory, they were out-shot once again, marking the third game in a row that has occurred. However, Novak saved all six shots on goal taken by PLU.

The Whitworth goal came in the 38th minute of play, as freshman forward Samuel Engle fired a shot from six yards out and put the Bucs up 1-0.

“Mike Chavez and the center back were scrapping for the ball,” Engle said. “I ran in hoping the ball would pop out and it fell between us so I poked it past him.”

It was Engle’s fourth goal of the season, just behind the team’s leading goal-scorer, sophomore forward Robby Ubben with five. With only five games to play and the second and third place teams already played twice, the Pirates’ are setting their sights on an outright Northwest Conference title.

“There is still work to be had,” Bushey said, looking forward to the rest of the regular season. “This is an important weekend coming up, we want to keep our advantage.”

The Pirates are back at home this weekend, hosting Pacific (4-10, 2-7 NWC) on Saturday at 2:30 pm, and George Fox (2-11-1, 2-7 NWC) on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Korey Hope Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu.

Wildcats cruise in victory over Pirates

Linfield solidifies national ranking with dominating win against Whitworth The Whitworth football team took a tough beating last Saturday from the Wildcats of Linfield College, who are currently ranked number three in NCAA Division III, 54-14.

“Linfield is a very good football team,” Whitworth head coach John Tully said. “[They are] very deserving of being ranked 3rd nationally. They played a good game and we didn’t play a good game and this was the result.”

It was a rough day for the Bucs, (5-2, 1-2 Northwest Conference) who did not manage to get on the board until more than halfway through the fourth quarter.

“We just came out flat and they just were more explosive than us to be honest,” senior wide receiver Jake DeGooyer said. “We got down in the first half and never recovered from that.”

Sophomore defensive back Kainoa Raguindin forced a fumble early on, which gave the Pirates’ possession, but sophomore quarterback Bryan Peterson threw an interception on the next play to give Linfield prime field position.

The Wildcats managed to find the end zone twice at the end of the first quarter and then again at the beginning of the second, to produce three touchdowns in under seven minutes. The Linfield defense was relentless as well, holding Whitworth to only 32 yards of offense in the first half. Linfield led 28-0 at the half.

The Wildcats continued to roll in the third quarter. Finally in the fourth Peterson connected with sophomore wide receiver Austin Ehlo in the end zone for a Pirate touchdown to avoid a shutout. Several minutes later junior running back DJ Tripoli ran 20 yards for another Whitworth touchdown. Tripoli led the Bucs in rushing on the day with 67 yards.

The Pirates’ injury streak continued in the second half when sophomore defensive back Paul Miller went down with a knee injury.

“We’re down a lot of starters on defense,” Raguindin said. “Younger guys and the next people in line have to step up.”

Raguindin had a career-high game with 15 tackles. DeGooyer led the Bucs with 69 receiving yards.

“I don’t think you want to read too much into getting beat,” Tully said. “Unfortunately we lost two games in a row to two very good football teams. The thing we do right now is look at the things we can improve on and things we can do better to come out on top on the scoreboard.”

The Pirates come home to the Pine Bowl this weekend to take on the Loggers of Puget Sound (0-5, 0-2 NWC).

Tully specifically mentioned the influence of fan and student support for the Bucs.

“I’m looking forward to playing at the Pine Bowl with our students at the game,” Tully said. “They’ve been so supportive and we need that. They do make a difference. When they’re way into it our players feed off of that.”

Sena Hughes Staff Writer

Contact Sena Hughes at shughes15@my.whitworth.edu.