Women split NWC games at Whitworth Soccer Field

The women’s soccer team split wins during their sixth and seventh Northwest Conference games this season, bringing their conference record to 2-5. Saturday’s game against Pacific Lutheran University resulted in a 3-0 loss, but with improved defense in Sunday’s game, the Pirates pulled off a victory against the University of Puget Sound. During a scoreless first half, Whitworth kept the ball mainly in PLU territory. PLU’s contentious offense fought back, outdoing the Pirates in goal attempts six to two. Freshman Katie Bischoff attempted Whitworth’s two shots on the goal, but both went wide. Junior goalkeeper Andrea Stump saved three out of six PLU shots. The remaining shots hit wide and high.

PLU’s aggressive offensive play following halftime ended in the penalty box before PLU could make a goal. Four minutes into the period, PLU took the ball up the right side of Whitworth territory, shooting the ball wide off the goal post but then scoring off of the rebound.

“PLU’s strategy was to kick [the ball] to their wide players and to overlap the outside backs to cross in the back side. We just weren’t tracking the back side,” Bischoff said.

PLU targeted Stump’s open left side for their first goal. Junior Tiara Pajimola, in response, dug in offensively with an ineffective high shot. PLU scored again in the 77th minute, with another left-side play. A foul on Whitworth resulted in a penalty kick and PLU’s third goal in the 84th minute. This is the only time this season another team has scored more than twice on the Pirates.

“We had an excellent first half today in terms of our possession and the opportunities we generated on the goal,” Head Coach Jael Hagerott said. “Today was not a bad game despite the score. Once you’re 1-0 behind, you have to take risks in order to score, and we ended up paying for it.”

On Sunday, Pajimola started the Pirates off with a goal on University of Puget Sound in the second minute. She continued the Pirate’s possession and offensive focus, stealing the ball from UPS defense and taking a high shot at the goal. Stump saved four shots in the first sixteen minutes. The Pirates scrambled for a successful defensive play to deflect a corner kick from UPS. UPS’ offense pushed possession in favor of the Loggers, who outshot the Pirates 15 to two in the first half.

Sophomore Hannah Langbehn led Whitworth defensively in the second half, thwarting five of PLU’s unsuccessful shots on the goal. UPS’ defense protected their goal equally as well as the Pirates, shutting down all of Pajimola’s and sophomore Megan McCart’s offensive movements.

“[Saturday] we took risks. I don’t think it was defense, I just think it was the way we were trying to score after we got down. [On Sunday], I’d say we were playing tougher and we didn’t let up like we did a couple of times yesterday,” Langbehn said.

The Pirates will play George Fox University in Oregon on Saturday at noon.

Leah Dassler

Staff Writer

Women's Soccer avoids shutout in NWC loss

This weekend’s game proved to be a struggle for the women’s soccer team as they faced off against the Whitman Missionaries for their first official Northwest Conference game of the season. After splitting a set of games in Texas last week, the Pirates lost to the Missionaries, 1-2, bringing their record to 1-3-1 overall. The Pirates focused on a highly defensive strategy; however, junior goalkeeper Andrea Stump ended up saving the net three times in the first 40 minutes.

“We know how Whitman plays, so our strategy was to recognize which areas they’re weak in and exploit those areas while at the same time trying to defend against what they’re good at. We tried to fight back the whole game. I think our resilience was really our strong point,” Stump said.

The Pirates continued defending shots and increased their offensive tempo, with junior Tiara Pajimola taking two unsuccessful wide shots at Whitman’s goalkeeper, Haley Case. The first period ended with no goals for either side.

“Coming out stronger in the first half and having energy last through the duration of the game are some areas we are working on as a team,” Pajimola said. “But overall our focus today was hitting clean shots, which I think we did better than games in the past.”

Two Whitman goals early in the second half put the Pirates in a tough spot.

“I think the defense did well even though [Whitman] scored twice,” sophomore forward Megan McCart said. “Overall, it was a good team effort.”

McCart succeeded in targeting Whitman’s forward Kelsey Peck and shutting down her attempts to distribute the ball across the field.

To avoid the shutout, the Pirates aggressively took the ball down the field, earning three more fouls as a result of a last push by the offense. No more shots were made until the final minute of the game, in which McCart scored her first goal this season with a free kick, avoiding a complete shutout by Whitman.

“Maybe a different team would say ‘2-0 down. We’re not going to play anymore.’ But we fought back with the goal down to the last minute. I think if we continue that we’ll only get stronger and stronger,” Head Coach Jael Haggerott said.

The team is hoping to adapt players to different roles so they can improve upon their fifth place finish in conference play last season, McCart said. The women play at home this Saturday in another NWC game against Lewis & Clark.

 

Leah Dassler

Staff Writer