SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth returns home to host a pair of tough opponents this week in women's soccer. The Pirates will face league-leading Linfield on Saturday before hosting Pacific (Ore.) on Sunday. Both are scheduled to kick off at noon.
The Pirates head into the weekend 5-2-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the NWC after getting a win and a tie on the road last week.
This week's live links:
The Pirate Update: Whitworth earned a tie at Lewis & Clark and a win at Willamette on the road last weekend. The unbeaten weekend moved the Pirates into third place in the current Northwest Conference standings.
On Saturday Whitworth grabbed a 1-0 lead at Lewis & Clark in the opening half on a goal by Tiara Pajimola, her fifth of the season. But the Pioneers tied the game early in the second half. Neither team could gain a match-winning goal in overtime so the teams settled for a 1-1 draw. Andrea Stump made 12 saves in goal for the Pirates.
Tiara Pajimola's sixth goal of the season, in the 63rd minute, gave Whitworth a 1-0 win at Willamette on Sunday. The goal stood up as Andrea Stump made a pair of second half saves for her second shutout of the season.
Wearing the Crown: Tiara Pajimola has picked up this season where she finished in 2012 - as the Pirates' leading scorer. She has six of the team's nine goals in 2013, which currently ranks second in the NWC for individual goals scored. Three of her goals have been match-winners.
Deceiving Stats: Total shots are not always a good indicator of how a match (or a season) has played out. The Pirates have been outshot by a 19-9 average per match this season and have been outshot in six of their eight contests. Yet Whitworth is 5-2-1. Very often the Pirate defense forces opponents to take low-percentage shots from long distance and those kinds of shots tend to happen more often.
The Opponents: Linfield comes into the weekend 7-0 overall, 3-0 in the NWC and ranked 20th in the most recent NSCAA Division III women's soccer poll. The Wildcats picked up all three of their conference victories last week, opening with a 4-2 win over Pacific last Wednesday. Then Linfield earned a key 1-0 victory over Puget Sound on Saturday, followed by a 5-0 rout of George Fox on Sunday. Reigning NWC Offensive Player of the Year Emily Fellows leads the 'Cats and the conference in goals scored with eight. Tegan Grunwald has added three goals and four assists. Last season the Wildcats defeated the Pirates in both meetings, winning 2-1 in McMinnville and 2-0 in Spokane at season's end.
Pacific University is 4-1-2 overall and 1-1-1 in the NWC heading into a Saturday match-up at Whitman. The Boxers also played three times last week. They followed their 4-2 loss at Linfield with a 1-0 win over George Fox and a 1-1 tie with Pacific Lutheran over the weekend. Pacific is led by sisters Kayla and McKenna Davidson. Kayla, a senior goal-keeper, has a 1.00 goals-against average and two shutouts this year. McKenna, a sophomore, leads the team offensively with four goals. Whitworth earned a pair of victories over the Boxers in 2012, by a 2-0 margin on the road and by a 1-0 score in Spokane.
The Coach: Jael Hagerott, one of the greatest players in Whitworth history, was promoted to head coach in 2011 and has an overall record of 18-14-6 in her first two seasons leading the Pirates. Her record is 18-8-6 against NWC opponents. 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: Next weekend the Pirates head to Tacoma to take on Pacific Lutheran (Saturday) and Puget Sound (Sunday).