SPOKANE, Wash. – For the first time in 2013, the Whitworth men's soccer team will play an official match on its home field when the Pirates host George Fox (Saturday) and Pacific (Sunday) in a pair of Northwest Conference contests. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 2:30 pm.
Whitworth is 3-2-1 overall and 1-1 in the NWC following a road split at Linfield and Willamette last weekend.
This week's live links:
The Pirates: Whitworth opened Northwest Conference play with a 1-0 win at Linfield last Saturday. After a back-and-forth opening half, the Pirates dominated the second period and allowed the Wildcats only a single shot. Sam Engle scored the match-winning goal in the 53rd minute off of an assist from Spencer Wolfe. Shane Nishioka-Healy posted five saves to earn his second shutout of the season.
Sunday's match went down as a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat in overtime at Willamette. Whitworth had taken a 2-1 lead through the first 38 minutes on goals by Sam Selisch and Andrew Flint. But soon after All-American Balin Larson was issued a questionable red card and Whitworth had to play the rest of the contest with only ten players. The Pirates held the lead until the 69th minute when Willamette tied the contest and the Bearcats got the game-winner a few minutes into the extra period.
The Long Road Home: Whitworth will not play an official match at home until September 28th against George Fox. The early part of the season will take the Pirates through Texas for two matches, through Oregon for the final two non-conference contests, then back to Oregon for the first NWC games.
The Opponents: George Fox is a young, but potentially dangerous, team despite the early overall record of 1-7 and NWC mark of 0-2. The Bruins opened conference play at home last weekend with a hard-fought 1-0 defeat to league-leading Pacific Lutheran and a 4-0 loss to Puget Sound. Luke Dickens has scored two goals for GFU this season, including the only match-winning goal of 2013. Last season Whitworth swept the Bruins, winning 1-0 in Newberg, Oregon and 6-0 in Spokane.
Pacific is 5-3 overall and 0-2 in the NWC heading into a match at Whitman on Saturday. The Boxers opened the year 5-0, but have dropped their last three games, including a 3-2 loss to Puget Sound and a 2-1 loss to Pacific Lutheran in last weekend's NWC openers. Ian Farley has six goals and two assists this season, while Nicolas Kaminsky has four goals and one assist. Last season Whitworth earned a pair of two-goal victories over Pacific, winning 2-0 on the road and 3-1 at home.
Head Coach Morgan Cathey: Morgan Cathey is in his first season leading the Pirates. He came to Whitworth from Cal State Stanislaus, where he spent two seasons as the top assistant coach. Cathey was a standout goalkeeper at Azusa Pacific during his playing days and he went on to play and coach professionally in South Africa before returning to the U.S and landing at CSU Stanislaus.
Coming up: Next weekend the Pirates will head west to Tacoma for matches with nationally-ranked Pacific Lutheran (Saturday) and Puget Sound (Sunday).