McMINNVILLE, Ore. – One goal was all it took on Sunday to give Whitworth the 2012 Northwest Conference men's soccer championship.
Karl Muelheims scored the match-winner in the 51st minute to lift the visiting Pirates to a 1-0 win over Linfield in a match moved to McMinnville High School because of unplayable conditions at the Wildcats' home pitch.
After sharing the conference crown last season with Pacific Lutheran, Whitworth clinched its seventh NWC title in the last nine years and eighth overall under head coach Sean Bushey (17th season) with a week to go in the regular season.
"It was quite a day and quite a match," Bushey said. "It was tight throughout though I thought we played well. Robby (Ubben) and Mikey (Chavez) were a handful for them but, more importantly, the team played well."
Andrew Flint delivered the pass to a cutting Muelheims early in the second half. Muelheims then delivered his third goal of the season past Linfield keeper Scott Goodman.
"It was a good goal by Karl after receiving a calm pass by Flint," Bushey said.
Whitworth improved to 13-1-3 overall and 10-1-2 (32 points) in the NWC with a match to play next Saturday at Whitman. The Bucs are four points ahead of PLU (9-3-1, 28 points) with just one match to play for the Lutes as well.
The Wildcats dropped to 7-10, 5-8.
The Pirates finished with a 15-6 advantage in shots, including a 3-2 edge in shots on-goal. Kyle Novak made two saves to post his 12th shutout of the season.
"Good defending and goalkeeping saw it through to the end," Bushey concluded. "I am happy for this team and for the players that have come before."