Five Pirates Garner NWC SAOW Honors

Five Pirates Garner NWC SAOW Honors

Week of Sept. 21 - Sept. 27

SPOKANE, Wash. - Following a strong weekend of collective performance from the Whitworth athletic programs, five Pirate student-athletes have been recognized as a Northwest Conference Student-Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 21-27.

Junior running back Duke DeGaetano had a career-best rushing performance at Chapman last weekend to earn NWC Football Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week recognition while junior linebacker Dalin McDonnell intercepted two passes against the Panthers and was named the NWC Football Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week.

The Whitworth men's soccer team also had a pair of honorees. Senior forward Sam Engle was named the NWC Men's Soccer Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week after scoring two match-winning goals and helping the Pirates remain unbeaten last weekend. Sophomore defender Aaron Yanagi was named the NWC Men's Soccer Defensive Student-Athlete  of the Week after assisting two goals in addition to helping the Pirates record two shutout victories.

Senior outside hitter Nicole Leonard was named the NWC Volleyball Student-Athlete of the Week. She helped lead the Pirates to a pair of conference victories and surpassed the 1,000 career kill mark last Wednesday at Whitman.

Nicole Leonard
Senior, Outside Hitter
Thousand Oaks, Calif. / Oaks Christian HS

Leonard led Whitworth to a 3-1 win at Whitman and 3-0 over George Fox that kept the Pirates tied atop the NWC standings. She averaged a team-high 4.43 kills per set in seven sets with a hitting percentage of .284. She had 16 kills and 10 digs vs. Whitman, and 15 kills and 18 digs vs. GFU.  In addition, she contributed four blocks and three service aces.  She surpassed the 1,000 mark in career kills in Whitworth's win at Whitman on Wednesday.

Duke DeGaetano
Junior, Running back
Bend, Ore. / Bend HS

DeGaetano ran for a career-high 159 yards on 25 attempts, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, and scored three touchdowns to key Whitworth's 37-7 win at Chapman. He had over 100 yards at halftime in helping the Pirates build a 23-0 lead. Nearly half of the Pirates' total offense (224 yards out of 486) came on the ground in the victory, with DeGaetano accounting for over 70% of it.

Dalin McDonnell
Junior, Linebacker
Wenatchee, Wash. / Eastmont HS

McDonnell was credited with three tackles in a 37-7 win at Chapman, but it was his two interceptions that most affected the game. The first came with just over a minute left in the first half when he intercepted a pass that had already been tipped twice at the Chapman 27-yard line. Two plays later, the Pirates scored for a 23-0 lead at halftime. He then scored Whitworth's first touchdown of the second half when he intercepted a pass near the Chapman sideline and returned the ball 43 yards for a score. The only Chapman touchdown came on special teams.

Men's Soccer
Sam Engle
Senior, Forward
Eugene, Ore. / South Eugene HS

Engle scored two match-winning goals in helping Whitworth remain unbeaten with wins over Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran. He drilled home a shot from outside the 18-yard box to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead over the Loggers in the 14th minute in an eventual 2-0 win on Saturday. The following day, his fifth goal of the season came in the 3rd minute against Pacific Lutheran in a 1-0 victory.

Men's Soccer
Aaron Yanagi
Sophomore, Defender
Honolulu, Hawaii / Iolani School

Yanagi started at defender during both Whitworth matches and assisted two of the three goals scored by the Pirates. His defensive efforts helped Whitworth record two shutouts, extending their streak of consecutive shutouts to four. The Pirate defense held Puget Sound to just one shot in Saturday's match. His assists helped create good looks for teammates with goals inside the 18-yard box on two occasions. He assisted a 27th-minute goal to help double the Whitworth lead in a 2-0 win over Puget Sound before assisting the lone goal during the 3rd minute in a 1-0 victory over Pacific Lutheran.