Men's soccer shines in opening two rounds

Senior Micheal Ramos continued his season-long shooting form on Friday night with his 14th goal of the season in Whitworth’s 1-0 victory over Covenant College in the NCAA Tournament. The Pirates continued their winning streak on Saturday evening, outscoring Berry College 2-0 in the second round of the tournament. “Mainly, for the team, it’s not about the result, it’s about the process: getting better every week and it’s been a huge satisfaction, not only for me, but for a lot of other players that have dedicated their life to soccer,” Ramos said. “[However,] now that we’re in postseason, we focus more on the result because we need to win to stay in the tournament.”

Friday’s game proved more challenging for the Pirates, as the Scots outshot the Pirates 8-6 while edging the Pirates in corner kicks, 6-5. In contrast, Saturday’s match proved more manageable, as the Pirates dominated the first half with a 21-4 shot advantage along with 6-0 on corner kicks.

Ramos scored the first and only goal for the Pirates with six minutes left to play in the game on Friday night. Freshman midfielder Eric Espinoza was credited for the assist when Ramos received the ball and dribbled it to the left side of the box. He then kicked it with his left foot and the ball ended up in the back of the lower-right corner of the net.

A Covenant player tried to tie the game on a corner kick with two minutes left, but the Pirate defenders cleared the ball to secure the win.

“We were successful, we did everything we needed to do, the way we needed to play. We created space with patient passing and movement,” Espinoza said.

On Saturday evening, junior midfielder Sam Engle took advantage of a Viking defender’s miscue and scored an early leading header goal for the Pirates in the 11th minute. Defenders, senior Colin Shockman and junior Spencer Wolfe, were credited for the assist.

At the beginning of the game, the opposing team did not perform their best, whereas, in the second half, they showed that they wanted a goal. The Pirates learned from their coaches that the Vikings score a lot of their goals in the second half, which displayed their determination in the second half, Espinoza said.

Espinoza doubled the score for the Pirates off of a short pass from freshman midfielder Austin Cassity, who beat his defender in the 67th minute.

“It was one of the most complete performances we’ve had all year: to not give up goals in five straight games,” Head Coach Morgan Cathey said.

Sophomore goalkeeper Timmy Costa made two saves on Friday night and one save on the following day, claiming the Pirates’ eighth shutout with Costa’s sixth shutout of the season.

Whitworth men’s soccer continues their NCAA Tournament play in the round of 16 against Christopher Newport University on Saturday.

 

Jessica Razanadrakoto

Staff Writer

Soccer shuts out Whitman for title

After 14 victories, three ties and one loss, the Whitworth men’s soccer team closed out their 2014 regular season with their 15th win. With a final score of 3-0 against Whitman, the men secured their fifth NWC title in the last eight years. “The whole week coming into this game, we knew what had to be done, what our mission was, what our job was: Our determination and our discipline to go out there and get what [was] ours,” freshman midfielder Kash Choudhary said. “We came in with hunger. This [was] our time and nobody could take it from us.”

Freshman forward Eric Espinoza gave the Pirates a lead off of a rebound from senior forward Michael Ramos in the 24th minute of the game.

“The changing formation allowed our offense to stay higher,” Espinoza said. “For my role, I needed to not just fly up, meaning not just run to score, so I was lucky enough to get a rebound to make the goal go in.”

Senior midfielder Tyler Clarke doubled the score for the Pirates when the ball crossed from the left to the right side of the net, volleyed into the goal and found the back of the net in the 32nd minute.

The final goal found the back of the net on the 69th minute by Choudhary with his third goal of the season off of a rebound from junior defender Spencer Wolfe, for his third assist of the season.

“After watching the film from the last time we played this team, we decided to add wingers into our formation and go with three forwards,” Choudhary said. “We also tried to make the field as wide as possible and depended a lot on our midfielders for this. This way we were able to exploit spaces that opened up on the field. Now we continue to grind on to the next game at [the national tournament] with a hard week of training.”

As the Pirates enter the national tournament next weekend with a one-loss elimination format, they need to be prepared, sharp and patient, Choudhary said.

“[Head Coach Morgan Cathey] mentioned [the championship] a lot and that we as a team have been working for a year to put ourselves in the best position to win [conference] and continue on to play-offs,” freshman goalkeeper Tony Watters said. “[Last Saturday’s game] was an incredible experience and it was the best soccer of the year because we played the Whitworth style, the Whitworth way: possessing the ball and being in control of the game.”

The Pirates outshot the Missionaries 20-9 with two equal corner opportunities.

Watters made three saves for the Pirates’ sixth shutout.

“We played with a solid defense. We had three in the back tracking the attacking forwards and a lot of it was what the guys were doing in front of me,” Watters said.

“I think we are playing good soccer at the moment. We scored quite a bit of goals in the past five games,” Cathey said. “We’re strong, fit and healthy, and we are in the right position going into the national tournament.”

 

Jessica Razanadrakoto

Staff Writer

Spotted from the Crow's Nest: Eduardo Lopez

Men’s soccer Head Coach Morgan Cathey brought a distinct coaching philosophy with him when he came to Whitworth, but he also attracted some talent. Senior Eduardo Lopez followed his former assistant coach, Cathey, from California State University Stanislaus to Whitworth University, where he has put his talent to work for the men’s team. “A coach can make a lot of impact on a player,” sophomore defender Spencer Wolfe said. “The ability to come up here and play again for Morgan [Cathey] so they could build on that personal relationship, but also that soccer relationship that they had built, played a big role in getting Eddie [Lopez] up here.”

Lopez redshirted his freshman year, which was common at CSUS, to help the freshmen learn how to play college level soccer, as it is different from playing high school soccer, Lopez said.

Lopez competed in 16 matches and made five starts through his last two seasons at CSUS, a Division II School.

Cathey not only impacted Lopez as a player, but also as a person.

“He’s been the best coach I’ve ever been coached by,” Lopez said. “He’s just a great person on and off the field. If I had any questions, I would go straight to him. I really like his vision, the way he wants his team to play. He [is] always positive. If you did something good, he acknowledged you for it, which makes you want to strive for more.”

When Cathey announced he was taking the Whitworth job in the spring of 2013, Lopez was devastated.

After a year without Cathey as part of his college soccer experience, Lopez contacted his former assistant coach, asking him if there was room for him at Whitworth, to which Cathey said, “Definitely,” Lopez said.

Lopez visited in the spring of 2014 with his father and his sister Laura Lopez, while staying with Whitworth soccer team member Wolfe.

“[When Lopez] came, we went out for dinner… so I got to know him a little bit before the rest of the team did,” Wolfe said. “I thought he was a good fit then, and ever since he came I thought he was an even better fit.”

It is important for Cathey to let the players know that he has their best interest at heart, not just on the field, but also off the field, Cathey said.

“It is important for [Lopez] to know that I care about [him] and that I am going to do everything I can to make sure that he is successful on the soccer field, in the classroom, and more importantly to make sure that he is successful in life,” Cathey said.

This season, Lopez wants to have a senior year in which he gets to fully experience college, as it is his first year living away from his family, Lopez said.

“It was mixed emotions for me. He has always lived at home, [and] didn’t have too much responsibility besides just being a college student and a soccer player. So, I was worried, but I never doubted his capability,” Laura Lopez said. “I was jealous that he did what he did... in a good way, because I wish I would have done what he did. I am extremely proud of him.”

Having a player like Lopez come in and start makes a difference, Wolfe said.

Cathey believes that one of Lopez’ strengths is the ability to step into the midfield and defend a forward or a midfield player that has dropped off in the defensive line.

“I knew that he would enjoy our soccer environment. I knew that he would enjoy the school,” Cathey said.

 

Jessica Razanadrakoto

Staff Writer

Men's soccer trounces Whitman in blowout victory

After six goals scored and four assists performed by 10 different Pirate players, the Whitworth men’s soccer team took home a 6-1 victory against the Whitman Missionaries during Homecoming Weekend. “All week, we focused on desire and purpose, which were what we focused on [Saturday],” senior Michael Ramos said.

This made Saturday’s game a positive response to their first loss on the previous weekend, junior midfielder Sam Engle said.

The Pirates’ first two goals came in the first half, similar to their Whitman game last year played on Nov. 9.

Sophomore forward Rylan Berriman gave the Pirates a lead off of an assist from junior defender Spencer Wolf in the seventh minute of the game. Whitman’s goalkeeper moved forward into the field hoping to pick up the ball, but the ball went past him to Berriman. Berriman kicked the ball with his left foot and found the left corner of the net.

“The game opened up and we had a lot more room for us to attack. We went to the ball and had better scoring positions,” Engle said.

Pirate forwards and midfielders came together in the box in front of Whitman defenders. After three attempts, a fourth kick by freshman midfielder Jonah Snyder led the ball to find the back of the middle of the net for his first career goal.

The score, off of an assist from freshman midfielder Kash Choudhray, doubled the lead for the Pirates with only six minutes left to play in the first half.

“Great performance from everybody, especially the guys in the back in the first half where they were so good to not let problems arise,” Head Coach Morgan Cathey said. “They solved, they learned, they grew and then from there, in the second half, we could see then that in the third goal, [the way the players scored] was more confident.”

In the 64th minute, Ramos kicked the ball across from the right to the left side of the net to Choudhray, who gave the Pirates their third goal with his first career goal as Pirate.

The key to success on the scoring play could be attributed to unselfish play and putting trust in other players, Ramos said.

“We got a bunch of guys in the score sheets,” Engle said.

Less than three minutes later, Berriman scored the Pirates’ fourth goal off of an assist from Engle.

The Missionaries scored their first and only goal in the 73rd minute. However, less than five seconds later, Ramos scored the fifth goal for the Pirates, unassisted.

With less than six minutes left to play in the game, sophomore midfielder Sam Donaldson’s unassisted goal gave the Pirates their sixth and final goal of the game.

“We found good spaces and pockets then goal after goal came and this is what we need going into next weekend: confidence and knowing that we did our best,” Cathey said.

The Pirates improved to 10-1-1 overall and 5-1-1 in the NWC.

Whitworth travels to Tacoma to play Puget Sound on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m.

 

Jessica Razanadrakoto

Staff Writer

Men's soccer suffers first loss of the season at home

Junior forward Karl Muelheims extended the Whitworth Pirates’ winning streak with the only goal of the game and his fifth of the season against the visiting Pacific Lutheran Lutes for a 1-0 victory on Saturday afternoon. However, Sunday’s game against previously second-ranked UPS, ended with the Pirates’ first loss of the season, 0-2. Compared to last year’s 4-1 win on Oct. 20 against the Lutes, this match proved to be a more difficult battle for the Pirates. The Bucs had to neutralize their opponents’ strengths to have more freedom to play, Head Coach Morgan Cathey said.

Though the Pirates only scored one goal, they were proud of their third shutout of the season, giving credit to the defense, assistant coach Bryan Olson said.

“Our overall team goal was to get a clean sheet: to not let them score,” Muelheims said. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight before the game, that it’s going to test our will, that it’s going to test our desire.”

This clean sheet not only came from the defensive players’ uphill struggle by clearing the balls to the opposite side of the field, but also from sophomore Timmy Costa’s three saves for the Pirates.

“The focus was more on the defensive end where we thought that the offense would come naturally,” junior defender Spencer Wolfe said.

The Pirates’ offensive players outshot the Lutes 17-7 throughout the game, giving the Lutes fewer opportunities to tie or take the lead.

Muelheims’ unassisted goal from the left side of the net was scored 10 minutes into the second half when the ball was mostly played on the Whitworth offensive side.

“A lot of the things that happened in that goal was just desire. At halftime we just said that we needed some shots,” Muelheims said. “[Junior midfielder Sam Engle] tried to shoot it, but ended up popping up right to me and I kind of took a touch and it went in. We wanted it in the box more than they did.”

The Pirates took a hit on the offensive side of the ball for Sunday’s game as Muelheims was injured and senior forward Micheal Ramos was not able to play.

In addition, the Puget Sound Loggers had an early goal by senior forward Andrew White assisted by defender Sam Naatz less than 5 minutes into the first half on Sunday. As a result of the early goal for the Loggers, the Pirates had a much more difficult time maintaining control of the game.

“We didn’t come out defensively with a mindset [of] desire and passion that we did [Saturday],” Cathey said. “[Saturday] was such a good understanding of how we needed to defend, how we needed to be at our best to stop them, and [Sunday], some of our guys right from the start weren’t in the game defensively and these are defensive players.”

Senior midfielder Connor Laferriere doubled the lead for the Loggers with an unassisted goal in the 26th minute.

“The second one was just a poor pass in midfield right to their player, which didn’t even need to happen,” Cathey said. “The guys have to be sharper, the guys have to bring more and understand that they can’t let themselves get away with sleeping for just even a second, shutting off for even a second.”

The sign of a championship team is to not give anything to the opposite team for a long time, though the Pirates gave the Loggers a lot of chances in the first 15 minutes of the game, Cathey said.

“They defended like animals,” Cathey said.

Despite the score, the Pirates outshot the Loggers 19-9 and had more corner kicks 5-1.

“The great thing is now, hopefully the guys will play more freely, but also play with more desire, not feeling like they have to go undefeated the whole year, but more desire to defend and to battle with everything they have,” Cathey said.

The actions the Pirates showed in the first 20-25 minutes on the field did not represent how they prepared in practice, junior midfielder Samuel Jarrett said.

“We’re going to look at what went wrong this week at practice and look out for next week,” Jarrett said.

The Pirates dropped to 9-1-1 overall and 4-1-1 in the NWC.

Whitworth hosts Pacific Lutheran during Homecoming weekend this Saturday, Oct. 11 at 2:30 p.m.

 

Jessica Razanadrakoto

Staff Writer

Men's soccer keeps undefeated streak alive on road

Senior Micheal Ramos’ four assists and three unassisted goals to tie two school records highlighted the Pirates’ 7-1 victory against the Bruins last Saturday, while the Pirates finished the weekend with a 4-1 win against the Boxers. Traveling on the road, scoring three goals early on in the game against George Fox gave Whitworth an edge.

The Pirates played how they wanted to play by reaching out to their forwards and distributing the ball, junior David Starkovich said.

The Bucs scored in the 14th minute of the game with an unassisted goal by Ramos, setting the game’s tone. Less than 30 seconds later, another cross ball assisted by Ramos to junior Karl Muelheims was scored.

“We were going at their defense,” Muelheims said. “Ramos was on the left side of the field and he played the ball to the back post, and I kicked it with my right foot.”

The Pirates’ third goal came in the 28th minute off of Ramos’ penalty kick. The fourth goal occurred in the 57th minute when Ramos assisted sophomore Rylan Berriman.

“[Ramos]’s distribution was really good. He moved the field quite a bit [and] switched the balls a lot,” Muelheims said. “He sets up other players to succeed.”

The early scores caused the Pirates to lose focus, which allowed the Bruins to score in the 75th minute, Starkovich said.

“Everybody needed to stay focused,” Muelheims said. “We dropped off because we were up 3 or 4 and we were satisfied about how the game was going rather than think about what to take more from this team.”

The other three goals came within a 10-minute period with two goals assisted by Ramos and scored by Berriman and junior Sam Engle. The final goal came from Ramos on a one-on-one with the Bruins’ goalie.

Ramos ended up tying the school record for points in a game with 10, while tying the school record for assists in a game with four.

Hannah Walker | Graphic Artist

The game on Sunday proved to be just as lopsided.

Whitworth took the lead on the 23rd minute when Muelheims had an unassisted goal off a crossbar rebound after a shot by Ramos. However, 14 minutes later, junior Samual Jarrett took the ball himself from 10 yards out from the net and kicked it to the lower left corner, putting the Pirates up two.

“We decided to limit their ability to play through the back by high pressing their defense,” Muelheims said. “This forced them to kick it long, where Sam Engle had a height advantage in the midfield. All we had to do was win the second ball and attack their defense.”

Pacific scored their only goal in the 55th minute in the second half. However, to secure the lead, Muelheims gave another point to Whitworth with less than 10 minutes off an assist by Berriman.

Bringing the game to a close, Ramos scored the Pirates’ fourth and last goal by freshman Eric Espinoza’s assist.

“[Ramos] grows every time he’s on the field and brings everybody into the game,” Head Coach Morgan Cathey said. “He showed a lot more desire to put the ball in the back and that purpose was noticeable this weekend.”

The Pirates improved to 8-0-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the NWC.

Whitworth begins a stretch of home games this weekend by hosting Pacific Lutheran on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

 

Jessica Razanadrakoto

Staff Writer

Pirates kick off NWC games with tie and win

The undefeated Pirates went into their sixth and seventh games of the season last weekend tying 1-1 against visiting Linfield Wildcats on Saturday afternoon and winning 1-0 against Willamette on Sunday. On Saturday afternoon, the Pirate sharpshooters went to work, targeting the Wildcats for an 11 to four shots on goal advantage.

Junior Sam Engle gave the Pirates a lead at the 61st minute of the game. Freshman Eric Espinoza kicked a long ball to senior Micheal Ramos, who shot the ball toward the net. The Wildcat goalie blocked it while returning the ball back to the field of play, where Engle came from behind and scored the ball on the left lower corner of the net.

With only 13 minutes left in the game, the Wildcats tied the score. One clear shot is all it took to give the opposing team a chance to score, Head Coach Morgan Cathey said.

On Sunday afternoon, the ball was played mainly in the Willamette territory for the first half, leading to the Pirates’ 24-8 shots advantage. Willamette, however, was not outdone, and went wide on the field better in the second half.

“In the first half, we were forcing balls into the players’ feet, but in the second half they pressed us a little higher,” Cathey said. “Their backline was very connected and we had a lot of space to pull our center forward wide.”

Willamette had different strengths than Linfield, Cathey said, so the Pirates had to play differently as a result.

Ramos received an assist from Engle in the 26th minute of play and made the first and only goal of the game. Ramos and senior Nathan Fosket said that they attribute the goal to the team’s hard work.

“We were starting to work better as a team, moving the ball a lot and we knew that against this team we could exploit the wide areas,” Ramos said. “Our highest players were getting wide more often and we ended up getting the ball in transition. I happened to be in one of those wide spaces and Engle played a good ball in and tucked it away.”

Whitworth travels to George Fox on Saturday, Sept. 27 to continue their conference play.

 

Jessica Razanadrakoto

Staff Writer

Men's soccer continues winning streak in Oregon

Three first half goals proved to be enough as the Whitworth Pirates edged the UCSC Banana Slugs 3-2 to secure their fifth consecutive win following an exhibition game against Trinity Western last month. Despite allowing a 14-6 advantage to the Slugs in shots, including a 9-1 advantage in shots for the second half, the Pirate defense held and they finished off non-conference play undefeated. Senior Eduardo Lopez and senior Micheal Ramos made an impact on the game early with a Ramos assist to Lopez for a header into the net. The goal marked the first of his Whitworth career for Lopez, who transferred from Cal State Stanislaus after last year.

“It was very good. It was a good experience and I’m happy that I was finally able to net,” Lopez said in regard to his first goal.

From there, the Pirates continued their offensive tempo, increasing the gap even more less than 20 minutes later. Senior Colin Shockman knocked in a long ball from outside the box off of an assist from junior Samual Jarrett to bring the lead to two. However, not 25 seconds later did Ramos return to the goal area to put one in off an assist from freshman Kyle Cacoyannis.

“Mainly, we work very well as a unit and for me to be able to attack more than I defend allows me to get in spaces where I can not only create but also score goals,” Ramos said.

However, Head Coach Morgan Cathey thinks that the team’s production in the first half is something that they can improve on even more.

“Today we scored three in the first half,” Cathey said. “I think we could have scored another three in the second half if we were really clinical, but we have some amazing attacking players and we should be creating some more clear cut opportunities.”

The opportunities dwindled for the Pirates in the second half, but ultimately, they played through and finished with the one goal advantage.

“We are getting much closer to seeing how well we can play when we’re excellent on the field in every aspect,” Cathey said. “I think in the first half especially we saw how dangerous we can be when we’re in the game from the start and when we bring everything we can.”

The men’s soccer team now looks towards conference play and the challenges that await, but Cathey thinks they are ready.

“For us it’s learning from the non-conference games which we have done a lot,” Cathey said. “We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and we know now that step one is behind us and step two for us really is our conference schedule which is within our control to win and go to the NCAA tournament.”

The Pirates take on the Linfield Wildcats this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the Pine Bowl.

 

Connor Soudani

Sports Editor