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.