By Christian Bond and Deborah Cabanos
Looking to make a run toward the top of the table to end the season, the Pacific Lutheran University Men’s Soccer team took out the Whitman Missionaries in its Northwest Conference game at East Field with a 2-0 victory.
Hovering around .500 midway through the season is not really a place any sports team wants to be, but that’s the position the Lutes found themselves in heading into the game on Saturday.
Early in the game, a controversial no call got both Lute players and fans fired up.
Whitman senior goalkeeper Niko Contos came out of the box after a ball that PLU first-year Joel Frykholm was going after.
This resulted in a huge collision between the two athletes just outside the 18-yard box.
No card was issued to the Whitman keeper, sending Lute players into a frenzy.
Frykholm had to leave the game with an injury.
In the first half, the Lutes came out aggressive.
Near misses from first-year Eddie Na and sophomore Christian Nesselquist were encouraging, and the Lutes were getting the looks they wanted.
In the 33rd minute, junior Jordan Downing was chasing down a ball going towards the goal.
Contos made an effort to knock the ball away to safety with a slide tackle before Downing could reach it.
Taking place inside the Whitman 18-yard box, the keeper got everything but the ball, resulting in a red card, leaving the Missionaries with only 10 players.
Whitman’s back-up goalkeeper, senior Stuart Ellsworth was substituted in to take Contos’ place in goal.
The red card resulted in a penalty kick for the Lutes which sophomore Diego Aceves drilled into the top right corner of the goal.
The Lutes lead the Missionaries 1-0 at halftime.
PLU did not let off the gas pedal.
In the second half, during the 69th minute, senior Justin Manao skipped a ball past the keeper for another goal.
First-year Bennett Bugbee set up the opportunity for his teammate with a nice pass.
Manao was able to turn and fire from the right side of the goal, and get it past the keeper in the bottom left corner.
This game didn’t consist entirely of PLU offense.
The defense was able to keep Whitman off the scoreboard to record a rare shutout for the Lutes.
PLU junior goalkeeper Mike Arguello brought both saves and leadership to the Lutes.
Commands from Arguello to his defense about where to be on the field helped the Lute defense stay organized and keep Whitman off the scoresheet.
Eager to build off of their win Saturday against the Whitman Missionaries, the Pacific Lutheran University Men’s Soccer team entered the field hoping for another win.
Unfortunately, the Whitworth Pirates came out with the win, inching by the Lutes with a 4-3 score.
The first 30 minutes started slowly, with neither team able to score. The action started picking up when the Lutes scored the first goal.
PLU seniors and co-captains Justin Manao and Kevin Wein worked together to bring the Lutes on the scoreboard in the 31st minute of the game.
Manao whipped in a free-kick with Wein making a clean kick to get the ball into the goal. It was Wein’s first goal of the season.
Their 1-0 lead was cut short when Whitworth scored two penalty goals in the following ten minutes.
The first one was scored by junior Michael Ramos in the 36th minute of play. The next penalty was scored by sophomore Sam Engle, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead going into halftime.
The intensity level of the game skyrocketed after halftime.
In the 51st minute of play, Engle scored again from a corner kick by sophomore Spencer Wolfe to bring the Pirates up to a 3-1 lead.
Whitworth junior Tyler Clarke scored a goal with the help of junior Robby Uben.
With the Pirates scoring yet another goal, it brought them to a substantial lead of 4-1.
With the intensity building on the field, spectators observed a lot of unfair calls made by the referee. However, the Lutes did not let the crowd put them off their game.
“The referee is something that we cannot control so we should focus on the things that we can control and get past all of that,” Wein said.
With the pressure to score mounting by the minute, the Lutes fought hard to redeem themselves.
Within five minutes, first-year forward Eddie Na scored two goals to cut down the Pirates’ lead.
Na proved his skill and speed by going around Whitworth’s defense to make a goal in the 75th minute of play.
Manao contributed to the last goal of the game when he provided the assist for Na to score in the 79th minute.
“The last 20 minutes brought us together and it showed how much of a team we are and how we fight for each other,” junior defender Luke Martinson said.
As time was running out, the Lutes tried their best to tie the score.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time as the Pirates’ defense retaliated by taking control of the ball.
The clock ran out of time, giving Whitworth the 4-3 victory against PLU.
This loss for the Lutes gives them a 4-5 conference record with Whitworth at a 6-1-2 conference record.
The Lutes will return home next weekend against Linfield and Willamette on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Both games will start at 2:30 p.m.
Game 1 by Christian Bond and Game 2 by Deborah Cabanos