by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Whitworth Pirates are back in the Pacific Northwest this week where they will look to bounce back after struggling to score in their first three matches of the season.
The Pirates open their home season on Thursday, Sept. 6 in a 4:00 p.m. tilt against Northwest University. The homestand continues at 4:00 p.m. the following day when Whitworth takes on Walla Walla University. Then, the Bucs close the weekend's matches on Sunday, Sept. 9 when they travel to Helena, Mont. to battle Carroll College (Mont.) at 2:30 p.m.
Live statistics and video links will be available on the Whitworth men's soccer schedule.
The Pirates: Whitworth (0-3) struggled against three well-regarded opponents in its opening weekend. In their season opener against Gettysburg College, the Pirates fell behind 1-0 early in the match before an equalizing goal from Kyle Cacoyannis pulled Whitworth even. The single goal wasn't enough though as the Bullets pulled out a 2-1 win.
The Bucs continued to struggle on the offensive end in their next two matches. Top-ranked Messiah shut out Whitworth 3-0 on Saturday, and Franklin & Marshall defeated the Pirates 2-0 Monday evening.
The Eagles: Northwest (1-0) started its season with a 1-0 overtime win over George Fox on Saturday. Titus Nickson was the hero for the Eagles, scoring the match-winner in the 102nd minute. Northwest finished 2017 with a 9-8-1 overall record and won the lone match it played against a Northwest Conference opponent – a 3-0 victory over Linfield. Lucas Alves is the Eagles top returning scorer from last season. The senior netted four goals with three assists.
The Wolves: Like the Pirates, Walla Walla (0-2) enters the week in search of its first win of the season. The Wolves have struggled defensively in their two previous matches, allowing 11 goals in a pair of losses Last season, Walla Walla went 1-13 and lost 8-2 to Linfield in its lone match against an NWC opponent.
The Fighting Saints: The matchup between Whitworth and Carroll (0-1) will be the final tune-up before conference play for both teams. The Saints enter the match in search of their first win of the season after going 7-9 last season. One of Carroll's seven wins last year was against the Pirates, a 2-1 victory in Spokane. Austin Cassity scored the Bucs' lone goal, while Rodrigo Portillo and Kyle Thomson scored for Carroll.
Looking Ahead: The Pirates open Northwest Conference play on the road, taking on George Fox on Friday, Sept. 14 and Pacific (Ore.) on Sunday, Sept. 16.
The Coach: Morgan Cathey continues a long line of highly successful men's soccer coaches at Whitworth University that began with Einar Thorarinsson (1986-1994), who followed his time at Whitworth with a long stint as the head coach at Gonzaga University, and continued with Sean Bushey (1996-2012), who now coaches in Minnesota.
Cathey enters his sixth season as men's soccer coach at Whitworth in the fall of 2018 and has led the Pirates to a record of 67-19-11 through his first five seasons. He guided the Pirates to three consecutive Northwest Conference titles from 2014-16 and made three straight appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Cathey's record against NWC opponents is 50-13-10 over his first five seasons.