Whitworth to Play Three Matches in Five Days This Week

SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth will open the second half of its Northwest Conference women's soccer schedule this week by playing three matches over five days.  The week begins with a home contest on Wednesday afternoon against Whitman, followed by a weekend trip to Tacoma to take on Puget Sound (Saturday) and Pacific Lutheran (Sunday).

Whitworth dropped into a tie for first place in the NWC women's soccer standings with UPS after falling 2-1 in overtime at Linfield last Saturday.

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Watch the women's soccer schedule page for live links to this week's matches at Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran.

The Pirates: Whitworth looked like it might steal one at Linfield last Saturday, despite a heavy deficit in total shots and shots on-goal.  But Katrin Grant gave the Bucs a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute when she scored on the Pirates' only shot in the first half.  Aaren Sherpe had the assist.  Linfield tied the game early in the second period and Emily Fellows, the NWC's leading scorer, headed in the match-winner with 11 seconds left in the first overtime period.  The Pirates had their own look at a winner earlier in overtime.  It was the first time Whitworth had lost a match at Linfield in seven seasons.

It's a Record: Whitworth went 528:42 without allowing a goal from the end of the match against Augustana until the 79th minute against Pacific Lutheran.  That set a new scoreless streak record for the team.  The previous record was 422:22 during the end of the 2008 season.

The Bug Bites: The injury bug has hit Whitworth hard once again in 2012.  Within a span of six minutes, both Jill Pecka and Molly Smith were lost to season-ending knee injuries in the September 8th match against Augustana.  Pecka is lost for the season for the third year in a row.

Several other Pirates suffered injuries over the first two weeks that continue to keep them out this week, including Rachel Jones' hip injury suffered in the September 7th match with Wheaton.  Two other injuries from the weekend of September 7th and 8th have impacted the Pirates' lineup – Lacee Scott (quad) and Courtney Larson ( hamstring) are both considered week to week.

Re·sil·ient: Merriam-Webster defines the work resilient as "capable of withstanding shock without permanent damage."  Nothing better describes the Pirates in the early going of 2012.  Whitworth opened 0-4 against a brutal non-conference schedule that comprised four schools that currently have a combined record of 41-11-1.  On top of that, the team suffered serious injuries to several key players that forced head coach Jael Hagerott to juggle her line all season.  But the Pirates have responded to share the lead in the Northwest Conference standings.

NWC Standings: The conference standings are based on a point system in which three points are awarded for a win and one point for a tie.  No points are gained in a loss.  So far at 6-1-1 the Pirates have 19 points in the standings.  Puget Sound (6-1-1) has 19 points and is tied for first place with Whitworth, while Linfield (5-1-2) has 17 points.

Frosh Spark: Tiara Pajimola has made herself an offensive spark plug in her first season with the Pirates.  She has scored six of Whitworth's goals this fall, leading the team in total goals (6) and total points (14).  She also ranks third in the NWC in both categories.

The Opponents: Whitman College comes into the Wednesday's match with an overall record of 3-8-1 and an NWC mark of 2-5-1 (7 points).  The Missionaries fell 2-1 in double overtime at Linfield on Sunday.  Whitman has scored 11 goals in 12 matches this season and has a team goals-against average of 1.37.  Jaclyn Rudd leads the team with four goals and one assist this season.  Whitworth earned its first victory of 2012 with a 1-0 decision over the Missionaries in Walla Walla on September 12thAmy Sterk headed in the winning goal in the 86th minute and Andrea Stump made seven saves in goal for her first career shutout.

Puget Sound continues pursuit of its 11th consecutive Northwest Conference women's soccer championship.  The Loggers defeated Lewis & Clark 3-0 on Saturday and won 1-0 at Pacific (Ore.) on Sunday to improve to 7-3-1 overall and 6-1-1 in the NWC.  UPS scores 1.5 goals and allows 0.62 goals per contest.  Amalia Acordia-Fey leads her team with six goals, while Teresa Henle adds three goals and three assists.  Whitworth earned a 1-0 win over the Loggers only eight days ago when Tiara Pajimola scored her sixth goal of the season in the 56th minute and Andrea Stump made five saves to preserve the shutout.

Pacific Lutheran has shown great improvement this weekend.  After suffering through a series of ties the Lutes earned a 1-0 win at George Fox last Saturday and a 3-2 win at Willamette on Sunday to improve to 4-1-5 overall and 2-1-5 (11 points) in the NWC.  Lauren Larson scored a goal in each match to improve her season total to seven.  Whitworth and PLU played to a 2-2 tie on October 29th as Pajimola and Katrin Grant scored for the Bucs.  But the Lutes rallied to tie the match twice in the final 11 minutes of regulation.

The Coach:  Jael Hagerott, one of the greatest players in Whitworth history, was promoted to head coach in 2011 and posted an 8-6-4 record in her first season leading the Pirates.  She is Whitworth's all-time leader in career assists.  She was the NWC Offensive Player of the Year in 2004 and an NSCAA Third Team All-American in 2007.

Coming up: Whitworth will host Pacific (Ore.) on October 20th and George Fox on October 21st in the second-to-last home weekend of the season.  The Pirates will recognize their seniors during that Sunday's match against GFU.

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