by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – A pair of goals from Drew Williams and an outstanding performance in goal from Jesus Nunez pushed the Whitworth Pirates past the Pacific Lutheran Lutes by a 3-0 score on Sunday afternoon.
The win means the Pirates (4-4-2, 3-0-1 NWC) remain undefeated in Northwest Conference play, while the Lutes fell to 2-2 in conference (6-4 overall).
Whitworth and Pacific Lutheran initially appeared to be settling in for a low-scoring battle. Both goalkeepers took on starring roles in the first half with a pair of highlight-reel saves. Jesus Nunez had the first, pulling himself out of a slide to punch away Zach Manao's shot on goal. RJ Noll followed, batting away a shot from Drew Williams.
The Pirates got the ball past Noll just once in the first half. Aaron Yanagi headed a corner kick towards the mouth of the goal where it bounced off a Lute and into the back of the net.
Williams put the Bucs up two with his fourth goal of the year. After Azzam Azzam found Williams with a rolling pass at the edge of the 18-yard box, Williams dribbled twice into the box and beat Noll with a far-post shot.
The Lutes nearly cut the lead in half with ten minutes remaining. Nick Brundage dribbled up from his defensive position and rolled the ball to Sam Ebner just 10 yards from the goal. Nunez saved Ebner's shot, however, and the ball rolled harmlessly out of touch.
After Pacific Lutheran was unable to score, Whitworth put the game away in the 85th minute. Williams headed home his second goal of the match off an attempted clearance from the Lutes, giving the Bucs a 3-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The lopsided score line belied the actual competitiveness of the match. Whitworth only narrowly edged Pacific Lutheran in shots (16-13) and shots on goal (9-6). The Lutes finished with a 6-4 edge in corner kicks.
Nunez earned the shutout with six saves on the day, a number equaled by Noll. Both Nunez and Azzam received yellow cards late in the match.
Up next, the Pirates travel to Oregon to take on the defending conference champions in Willamette. The Bucs and Bearcats square off on Saturday, Sept. 29.