by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After an undefeated week at home, the Whitworth Pirates head to Oregon this weekend for matchups with two of the Northwest Conference's top offensive teams.
The Bucs open the weekend on Saturday, Sept. 29 in a top of the table showdown with the Willamette Bearcats. The following day, Whitworth travels to Linfield to take on the Wildcats. Both matches begin at 12:00 p.m.
Video and live statistics links will be available on the Whitworth women's soccer schedule.
The Pirates: Whitworth (5-1-2, 3-0-1 NWC) enters the weekend on a six-match unbeaten streak after defeating Whitman 3-1 and shutting out Pacific (Ore.) 1-0. The forwards led the way against the Blues, with both Arielle Van Peursem and Coby Yoshimura scoring goals in the dominant win. Hannah Rae Miller also forced an own goal with a cross that deflected past Whitman's goalkeeper.
Molly Webster kept the Pirates undefeated with a dominant performance in goal against Pacific. The senior shut out the Boxers with four saves, ensuring that Rachel Wofford's goal would be enough to earn a win. The shutout was Webster's second of the year.
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, Molly Webster established herself as one of the best goalkeepers 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). This season, Webster has been just as good. She ranks fourth in the conference in saves (30) and fifth in GAA (.93).
Working Overtime: The Pirates have been putting in plenty of extra work early in their season. Four of Whitworth's eight matches have needed overtime, and the Bucs are 2-0-2 in those contests.
Home Sweet Home: During third-year head coach Bryan Olson's tenure at Whitworth, the Pirates are 17-2-1 playing on the Whitworth Soccer Field. After sweeping last weekend's matches, the Bucs are 2-0 at home in 2018 after a combined record of 15-2-1 the two years prior. The Pirates return to the Whitworth Soccer Field on Saturday, Oct. 6 to take on George Fox.
The Bearcats: Willamette (7-0-1, 3-0-1 NWC) comes into the weekend as the best offensive team in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats lead the NWC in total goals (15) and goals during conference play (7). Shanna Keil paces the offense. The junior is first in the NWC in goals (5) and is tied for first in assists (3). The Bearcats also have one of the NWC's top goalkeepers, Kristen Barclay, who boasts a .43 goals against average and .870 save percentage. Willamette and Whitworth split their two matches last season with the Bearcats winning 2-0 in Oregon and Whitworth picking up a 2-1 victory in Spokane.
The Wildcats: Linfield (4-4-2, 1-1-2 NWC) was one of the top offensive teams in the NWC during non-conference play, but its offense tapered off in its first four matches of the conference season. The Wildcats scored a league-high nine goals during the non-conference season, but have only totaled three goals in their four matches against NWC teams. If Linfield is able to get its offense back on track, Sydney Kuehn and Lexi Kerr will likely play a big role. Kerr is tied for the NWC lead in assists, and Kuehn has the third-most goals in the conference. Whitworth swept last year's season series, winning 3-2 in both matches.
Looking Ahead: The Pirates return home for matchups with George Fox on Saturday, Oct. 6 and Lewis & Clark on Sunday, Oct. 7.
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).