SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth maintained a hold on first place in the Northwest Conference men's soccer standings with a 3-1 win over visiting Pacific University of Oregon on Saturday afternoon.
The 9th-ranked Pirates improved to 11-0-3 overall and 8-0-2 (26 points) in the NWC. Whitworth holds a four-point edge over second-place PLU (7-2-1), a 3-1 winner over Willamette on Saturday.
The Pirates jumped ahead early against Pacific (4-11, 2-8) when Robby Ubben scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season in the 15th minute. He put back a shot attempt by Andrew French that had hit the post.
French then made it 2-0 Pirates in the 30th minute with his second goal of the season. He finished a cross by Samuel Engle.
"French, Ubben and Engle started the match well," said Whitworth head coach Sean Bushey. "It was important to get an early lead."
Whitworth stretched the lead to three goals eight minutes into the second half. Running an effective counter against the Boxers, Kekoa Mountcastle's pass was slowed by Pacific keeper Michael Summers, but not controlled. Karl Muelheims was in the right place to place the ball into an open net for his second goal of 2012.
"That third goal was critical in helping to set the game off," Bushey said.
Pacific scored a late goal when Garrick Knowles's corner kick glanced off of Babeck Ebadpour's head and into the net in the 88th minute.
Whitworth outshot Pacific 19-4, including a 7-1 edge in shots on-goal. Kyle Novak played the first 78 minutes in net for the Pirates, but did not have to make a save.
Summers made four saves for the Boxers, who travel to face Whitman on Sunday.
Whitworth will host George Fox on Sunday in its final regular season home match of 2012.