Bucs Look to Bounce Back in Battle of the Whits

Bucs Look to Bounce Back in Battle of the Whits

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant 

SPOKANE, Wash. – After suffering two tough losses in Oregon, the Whitworth Pirates return home this weekend with a chance to bounce back against the Whitman Blues.

The Pirates take on the Blues Saturday, Oct. 6 before getting a rare Sunday off, their only one of the season. Whitworth and Whitman kick off at 2:30 p.m. on the Whitworth Soccer Field. 

Live statistics and video links will be available on the Whitworth men's soccer schedule. 

The Pirates: Whitworth (4-6-2, 3-2-1 NWC) had a tough time in Oregon last weekend. The Pirate failed to score in a pair of 2-0 losses to Willamette and Linfield. Max Berner-Hayes led the Bearcats past the Pirates, scoring on two headers to lead Willamette in a match that featured eight cautions and two ejections. 

The following day, Linfield snapped a 30-match losing streak against Whitworth with a 2-0 victory. The last time the Wildcats defeated the Pirates before last weekend was in 2003. Linfield held off a furious attempted comeback, led by Ethan Kem and Chase Reidt, to earn the win. 

Jesus Saves: Since taking over the starting goalkeeper role at the beginning of the Northwest Conference play, Jesus Nunez has been one of the best in the NWC. The junior is tied for second in the conference in saves (37) and fourth in save percentage (.771).

Bullseye: Drew Williams has been one of the top offensive threats in the Northwest Conference this season. The junior is fourth in the conference with 5 goals on the year, and his 11 points rank fifth in the NWC. Williams also is one of the most accurate attackers in the nation. 72 percent of his shots are on target, fifth-best in the country. 

The Blues: Whitman (5-5, 4-2 NWC) enters the weekend one spot above the Pirates in the conference standings due to last weekend's split with Linfield and Willamette. The Blues blew out the Wildcats in a 5-1 win before falling 1-0 to the Bearcats. Peter Stephens and Jimmy Jacobson pace the Whitman offense. Stephens leads the team with four goals and Jacobson totaled three assists. Owen Davis-Bower has been the Blues' best goalkeeper this season, posting a 0.35 goals against average with a .909 save percentage. Last season, the Pirates and the Blues split their matches with both teams winning on the the other's home field. The Bucs defeated Whitman 3-2 in Walla Walla and the Blues responded with a 2-1 overtime win in Spokane. 

Looking Ahead: The Pirates will have an opportunity to get payback against Linfield and Willamette next week. The two teams travel to Spokane to battle the Bucs Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14. 

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.