Eddie Na shines, Men’s Soccer Sweep the Whits’

JAKE BILYEU

Sports Writer

bilyeujc@plu.edu

Pacific Lutheran Men’s Soccer team returned home after a long road trip looking to shock 4th ranked Whitworth Saturday night. To say they did just that would be a colossal understatement.

When PLU and Whitworth first met in late September, the match was decided quickly when Whitworth scored in the first minutes of the game, silencing the Lutes the rest of the way and handing them a 1-0 loss.

When the two met again Saturday, however, the game did not go as the opposing Pirates planned. The Lutes struck first when Eddie Na fired a shot that cleared the defense and seared the back of the net in the 22nd minute.

The goal didn’t just provide the Lutes with a 1-0 lead, it also got the crowd and the team engaged, as the possibility of pulling off the massive upset seemed much more real after the score.

Whitworth had only allowed three goals all season, and only one in conference play, so the Lutes knew that scoring would be near-impossible to come by.  But unlike lightning, Eddie Na struck twice, and added to the team’s lead in the 59th minute to extend the Lutes lead to 2-0.

Photo by Bailey Plumb: Sophomore Eddie Na (9) slides celebrating his second goal at the 58th minute.
Photo by Bailey Plumb: Sophomore Eddie Na (9) slides celebrating his second goal at the 59th minute, he recorded 4 goals over the weekend.

Through the shock and awe of scoring twice against the conference favorites, the Lutes’ focus never wavered, as they held of Whitworth to win 2-0 in a season-defining game.

“It was our best game all season,” head coach John Yorke said of the victory.  “We needed to give a complete performance, and we did.”

The Lutes’ weekend wasn’t finished yet, though.  In a contest that looked like a potential trap game, Whitman tried to stand toe-to-toe with the Lutes early on.  But, Eddie Na just wasn’t satisfied with his effort yet, and added another goal to his weekend and the first of the day in the sixth minute to give the Lutes a 1-0 lead.

The early score boosted the confidence of Saturday’s triumph back into the Lutes, and the opposing Missionaries could never catch up, as Rigoberto Loreto, Jordan Downing, Sidney Ecoiffier, and Eddie Na added four more goals to help the team cruise to a 5-0 win.

“We needed to show each other what we’re capable of doing,” Yorke said.  “It was the perfect end to the weekend.”

Na’s four goals from the weekend doubled his total on the year.  Even through injuries, his eight scores have provided tremendous support for his teammates, and they’ve given back to him as well.

“Everybody on the team inspired me when I was injured by working hard every day,” Na said.  “It felt great to score those four goals, because I knew I had to do the best I could.”

The Lutes win against Whitworth marked the first time the Lutes defeated the Pirates since 2011.  The team now looks ahead to Pacific and George Fox, who they’ll travel to face this Saturday and Sunday, with both games starting at 1:30.

“We just have to keep doing what we do well,” Yorke said.

“If we take it one game at a time, and go 1-0 everyday, we’ll be alright,” Na added. 🅼

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