by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
LANCASTER, Penn. – Rachel Wofford chose the right time to score her first goal as a Pirate. The Bucs were 45 seconds away from a tie with Franklin & Marshall when junior booted home a match-winner in double overtime to give Whitworth a win in its season-opener.
The Pirates improved to 1-0 with the win over the Diplomats, while Franklin and Marshall fell to 0-1.
"It was encouraging to see our group respond in such a positive way after the three hour lightning delay," said head coach Bryan Olson. "Our group worked selflessly through the evening and we are looking forward to continuing our work toward all that we are capable of."
The match was a back and forth affair from its outset. The Diplomats created the first chance when Sam Springer put up the first shot on goal, but it was saved by Pirate senior Molly Webster.
Whitworth was the first team on the scoreboard after a ninth minute goal. Kelly Wucherer booted a shot that Diplomat goalkeeper Gabby Panayotakis deflected. Wucherer instantly leap up, beat Panayotkis to the deflection, and buried her second shot of the day in the back of the net.
After the goal, the Bucs kept the pressure on for the remainder of the half, totaling four shots with two on goal, but they were unable to add on before halftime.
The Pirates nearly added their second goal in the 59th minute, but Arielle Van Peursem's shot was knocked away and Gabriella Coprivnicar's missed wide. The Diplomats responded with a shot from Haley Barge, but Webster saved it.
Franklin & Marshall put pressure on the Whitworth back line for the match's next 20 minutes. The Diplomats maintained possession for most of that time and kept the ball in the Pirates' defensive third.
The Diplomats used that possession to even the score in the 78th minute when Kristin Heine gathered the ball in the middle of the penalty box and fired a goal into the top-right corner of the net.
After Heine's goal, neither team was able to threaten the other and the match headed to overtime.
Jadyn Baumgartner nearly made the overtime a short one when she took in a cross and fired a shot towards goal. The sophomore's shot met iron though, continuing the match until Wofford could finish it off.
The junior's match-winner came in the match's final minute. Coby Yoshimura sent in a cross from the left side, which Lauren Hepler attempted to head in. While the freshman's header didn't make it to the net, it did reach Wofford, who ended the game with under a minute remaining.
Wofford's goal gave Whitworth a win in a match in which it maintained advantages in every offensive category. The Bucs finished the game on top in shots (20-9), shots on goal (8-4), and corner kicks (4-2).
The Pirates will look to build on Friday's win when they take on fifth-ranked Messiah College Saturday afternoon. The match is scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m. (PDT) in Grantham, Penn.