Women’s soccer puts pressure on NWC leaders

By Deborah Cabanos, Guest Writer

Game 1

The sun graced East Field last Saturday as the Pacific Lutheran University and Lewis & Clark College women’s soccer teams battled it out during a high paced Northwest Conference game. The game went into a double overtime, and PLU winning 2-1. The game started out fast as Emily Thompson of Lewis & Clark put the Pioneers on the scoreboard 12 minutes into the game with the help of teammate Anna Thorndike. This was quickly matched by junior forward Lauren Larson as she stole the ball from a defender and scored just six minutes later. With the teams going into halftime at 1-1, the Lutes came back into the second half even stronger by keeping the ball within their possession.

“[Lewis & Clark] have two good forwards and I told our back four girls that they needed to do a good job, which they did,” head coach Seth Spidahl said.

With neither team finding the net again in regulation, the game went into overtime. Neither team managed to score a goal during the first overtime, so another overtime period was added.

“[The game] was really tough but we are resilient,” junior and left defender Nicoya Benham-Marin said. “[Lewis & Clark] is a great team and they are fighters too, but they had certain weaknesses we could take advantage of.”

After two minutes of play in double overtime, junior forward Jamie Hoffman got Fong out of the net which helped her to score the game-winning goal. The Lutes rushed the field with great excitement and hugged one another as they celebrated their well-earned victory.

“We have been working on being mentally strong as a team and the girls are learning to embrace playing a full-110 minute game,” Spidahl said. “This is college soccer, and they have to play strong until the end.”

The win moved Pacific Lutheran to 4-2-1 overall and 2-1 in conference, while Lewis & Clark moved down to 4-2-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the NWC.

Game 2

By Giancarlo Santoro

Pacific Lutheran University’s underclassmen came up big on Sunday at East Field as the Lutes took down George Fox 3-0 to extend their winning streak to three straight games.

“We’ve been practicing well,” sophomore defender Lena Moreno said. “We are happy to see our work translate into two wins this weekend.”
Always strong in front of the home crowd, the Lutes put immediate pressure on the George Fox defense, and opened the scoring after just two-and-a-half minutes.
Junior transfer Emily Hanna received the ball near the George Fox penalty area and whipped in a cross behind the Bruin defense to find first-year Machaela Graddy who tapped the ball into the net to make it 1-0 for PLU. It was Graddy’s second goal and Hanna’s second assist of the season.
PLU’s offense tested Bruin goalkeeper Ally Swanson with seven more shots throughout the opening 45 minutes but went into halftime still leading 1-0. With plenty of offensive and defensive options on the bench ready to play, Moreno noted the importance of having a deep bench.

“Not every player will play the full 90 minutes, so it’s good to have balance in our team” Moreno said. “The players getting subbed into the game know they need to have just as much of an impact as a starter.”

It took George Fox over 50 minutes to work the ball around a stout Lute defense to get their first shot of the match, which was saved by PLU sophomore goalkeeper Takara Mitsui. The Bruins resistance was broken again in the 68th minute, this time from a corner kick to put the Lutes up 2-0. Senior Blake Warner crossed the ball into the box where it eventually found first-year Haily Smoot, whose shot was deflected off the keeper and into the back of the net for her first career goal as a Lute.

PLU would finish the scoring in the 85th minute off of a clever free kick from close range that took the Bruins by surprise. Sophomore Kelly White’s shot deflected off the foot of a George Fox defender and into the roof of the net to make it 3-0. Like Smoot, it was White’s first career goal for PLU.

“Sometimes winning a game ‘you should win’ can be more difficult,” head coach Seth Spidahl said. “The pressure was on us, and they responded brilliantly with the win.”
PLU now sits in third place with a record of 5-2-1 overall and 3-1 in NWC. George Fox remains on the bottom at 0-6-2 overall, 0-4 in conference. The Lutes will now travel east to face off against Whitworth at noon Oct. 4 and Whitman at noon Oct. 5. 🅼

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