by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth women's soccer is still undefeated in Northwest Conference play after a 1-0 victory over the Whitman Blues.
Wednesday's victory pushed the Pirates' record to 7-3-1 overall and 6-0-1 in conference. The Blues dropped to 1-9-1 and 1-5-1 in the NWC.
The Pirates' win was best characterized after the match by assistant coach Josh Sharon.
"Sometimes you just have to grind it out," Sharon said.
Whitworth's goal was the best example of their grind-it-out mentality. After a half in which they struggled to connect passes in the attacking third, the Pirates stuck with it to put a couple quick passes together and score their first goal.
Courtney Potter and Sarah Cool tapped a pair of passes on the right side of the 18-yard box, getting the ball to Michele Whan. Then, Whan curled a shot around the outstretched arms of Allie Seracuse to give Whitworth a 1-0 lead.
Outside of Whan's goal, Whitworth's defense led the way for the Pirates in the first half, allowing just two shots on goal. Both of the Blues shots on goal came from well outside the 18-yard box and were easily saved by Molly Webster.
The second half began with Whitworth holding most of the momentum. The Pirates created two chances in the first ten minutes of the half, but headers from McKenzie Hemp and Leah Corra couldn't find the back of the net.
After Hemp's shot, neither team maintained possession for a long period of time. The Blues managed to keep the ball on Whitworth's side of the field, which resulted in multiple shots from Whitman. Each potential shot on goal was blocked by a defender or saved by Webster.
"We did the work that we needed to do," head coach Bryan Olson said. "I'm proud of our resiliency.
The final ten minutes were wide-open and filled with defensive miscues from both sides. Runs from Hemp and Cool nearly resulted in Whitworth goals, but Seracuse kept the score at 1-0.
For their part, the Blues spent the majority of the final five minutes attempting to scoot a shot past Webster. The Pirate goalkeeper, however, maintained her third full shutout of the season to earn Whitworth its second straight win.
"This week is a tough week. The women had a bunch of exams and just came off matches against Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound," Olson said. "I'm really proud of how they handled it.
Next up, the Whitworth women hit the road to take on Linfield. The match is on Saturday, Oct. 7 and kicks off at Noon.