SPOKANE, Wash. – A goal by Mike Chavez in the 34th minute gave Whitworth a 1-0 win over visiting Wheaton in a battle of nationally-ranked teams on Saturday afternoon at the Whitworth Soccer Classic.
The 24th-ranked Pirates improved to 3-0-1, while the 7th-ranked Thunder fell to 3-1.
The game was as statistically even as the final score. Wheaton held a 14-12 edge in final shots, but Whitworth finished with a 6-4 advantage in shots on goal. The Thunder added several corner kicks while applying offensive pressure over the final ten minutes to finish with a 9-6 edge in corners.
Karl Muelheims helped set up the only goal of the match when he penetrated the Wheaton defense and found Chavez who finished from the middle of the penalty area.
The Pirates had some good chances to take a two-goal lead over the first 25 minutes of the second half, but Wheaton goalkeeper Ryan Seager made three saves to keep his team within a single goal.
Whitworth's Kyle Novak made a diving save in the 74th minute, his fourth of the match. Wheaton had two final corner kicks in the last three minutes, but the Pirate defense did not allow the Thunder to get off a shot off of either attempt.
There were no cards issued in the cleanly-played match.
Whitworth is set to open Northwest Conference play next weekend by hosting Linfield (Saturday) and Willamette (Sunday). Both matches will start at 2:30 p.m.