by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After splitting their first weekend of Northwest Conference play, Whitworth men's soccer heads to the west side of Washington to take on Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound.
The Pirates battle the Lutes in Saturday's matchup, which begins at Noon in Parkland. Then, they head to Tacoma to take on the Loggers in another Noon match.
The Whitworth men's soccer schedule will have live links to this weekend's matches.
The Pirates: Whitworth (3-4) opened the conference season with a thud against Pacific (Ore.) as a slow start doomed the Pirates in a match they believe they should have won. Fortunately, Whitworth bounced back with a 4-0 win over George Fox.
The match against the Boxers did have some bright spots. Kyle Cacoyannis scored his first career goal on the Whitworth Soccer Field and the Pirates played with the aggressiveness head coach Morgan Cathey likes to see for the final third of the match, nearly tying it.
Sunday's match against the Bruins had a bevy of positive moments. Drew Williams scored two goals with an assist, and Ethan Kem netted his first goal as a Pirate. Jesus Nunez and Alex Pells combined for Whitworth's first shutout of the season as well.
Weekly Honors: For the first time this season, a Pirate men's soccer player took home Northwest Conference Student-Athlete of the week. Jonah Snyder earned the recognition with three goals and two assists against Eastern Oregon, Pacific (Ore.), and George Fox.
Chasing History: The Pirates are looking to make history this season. The men's soccer program has never won four consecutive Northwest Conference championships, and after titles in 2014, 2015, and 2016 this season's Pirates have a chance to be the first to win four straight.
How May We Assist You: Austin Cassity's excellent start to the season includes a spot at the top of the conference assists leaderboard. His five assists are also the 9th-most nationally. As a team, Whitworth leads the Northwest Conference with 13 assists on their 15 goals.
The Lutes: Pacific Lutheran (3-3-1) also enters the weekend after a split to start NWC play. The Lutes defeated Linfield 2-0 before falling to Willamette 2-1. Both of PLU's matches last weekend were on the road.
Eddie Na and Joe Summartino are two Lutes that Whitworth will be marking closely this weekend. Na leads the NWC in goals, while Summartino is tied for fourth. Lute goalkeeper RJ Noll is fourth in the conference in GAA.
Last season, the Pirates and Lutes split their matches with both winning on their home fields. PLU won 3-2 in two overtimes in Parkland, while the Pirates picked up a 2-1 win in overtime in Spokane.
The Loggers: Puget Sound (3-2) comes in to the weekend with a 1-1 NWC record. The Loggers fell to Willamette 1-0 before defeating Linfield 4-1 last weekend. Puget Sound and Whitworth have one common opponent: Eastern Oregon, who beat the Loggers 1-0 days before the Pirates defeated the Mountaineers 3-1.
The Loggers boast the best goalkeeper in the Northwest Conference by GAA, Wren Norwood. Norwood has only allowed one goal per match so far this season. Ezra Kraus is the Logger's team leader in goals with three on the season.
Last season, the Pirates went 1-0-1 against the Loggers. The teams tied 2-2 in Tacoma before Whitworth won 2-1 at home in Spokane. Moi Diaz scored the match-winning goal in Whitworth's victory.
Looking Ahead: After tripping to Tacoma, the Pirates return home to battle with Willamette and Linfield. Whitworth faces off with the Bearcats on Saturday, Sept. 30 and the Wildcats on Sunday, Oct. 1. Both matches begin at 2:30 p.m. and take place on the Whitworth Soccer Field.