by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After splitting two matches during their weekend in Pennsylvania, the Whitworth Pirates return to the east side of Washington this weekend for two matches against NAIA foes.
The Bucs open the weekend taking on the College of Idaho at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8. They battle Carrol College (Mont.) the following day at 11:30 a.m. Whitman College is the host for both matches.
Video and live statistics links will be available on the Whitworth women's soccer schedule.
The Pirates: Whitworth (1-1) opened its season last weekend with a dramatic 2-1 win over Franklin & Marshall before falling 4-0 to fifth-ranked Messiah the next day. Rachel Wofford was the hero in the season-opener, scoring a match-winning goal with just 45 seconds left in the second overtime period. The situation was made possible by Kelly Wucherer, who scored the Bucs' lone goal in regulation.
Whitworth struggled in its second game of the season, allowing four goals in a loss to Messiah College. Brooke Firestone led the Falcons with two goals, while Molly Webster was the Pirates top performer with four saves.
Getting Defensive: Whitworth's defense was one of the keys to its success in 2017. The Pirates allowed barely more than one goal per game (1.08) and finished the year with eight shutouts, the third-most in the Northwest Conference.
Magnificent Molly: In her first year as a Pirate, goalkeeper Molly Webster established herself as one of the best in the NWC. The senior finished last year tied for second in the conference in total goals against (11), and fourth in goals against average (.95).
Home Sweet Home: During third-year head coach Bryan Olson's tenure at Whitworth, the Pirates are 15-2-1 playing on the Whitworth Soccer Field. In 2016, Whitworth finished 7-1 at home and the Pirates went 8-1-1 in Spokane last year
The Yotes: The College of Idaho (2-0) enters its match against Whitworth fresh off a 4-2 win over Sierra Nevada and an 11-0 drubbing of Simpson in its first weekend of action. The Yotes finished last season with a 7-9-2 record overall and a 5-5-1 record in Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) play. They faced two Northwest Conference opponents in 2017, defeating both Linfield and Pacific (Ore.). Cameron Coyle leads the Yotes in scoring this season. Coyle's three goals in two games already outpaced her total scoring output (2 goals) in 2017.
The Fighting Saints: Carroll College (0-4) opened its season on a four-match losing streak, which it will look to snap in its matches against Whitworth and Whitman this weekend. The Saints most recently traveled to Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada for three matches against Canadian schools. No Saints currently have a goal yet this season – the team's only goal was an own goal by Montana State-Billings. Carroll finished 2017 with an 7-8-2 overall record and a 3-6-2 mark in the CCC. The Saints defeated the Pirates 1-0 last year, with Madison Aspey scoring the match's only goal.
Looking Ahead: Whitworth opens Northwest Conference play next weekend with a trip to Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran. The two Tacoma-area schools were the only teams in the NWC who finished with the same or better records than the Bucs in 2017.
The Coach: Bryan Olson was named the head coach for the Pirate women's soccer team in February of 2016 and enters his third year leading the Bucs in the fall of 2018. In his two seasons at the helm, Whitworth has a 22-16-2 overall record and a 20-10-2 mark in the Northwest Conference.
Olson was the top assistant coach for the Whitworth men's soccer team for six seasons prior to leading the women's team. His title was elevated to Associate Head Coach ahead of the 2015 season. Over that time the Pirate men's team posted a record of 66-17-12 and made the NCAA Division III Tournament three times (2012, 2014 and 2015).