by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth Pirates begin the second half of the Northwest Conference season with two of their most important matches, taking on defending NWC champion Pacific Lutheran and 14-time champion Puget Sound.
The Pirates open the weekend against the Lutes on Saturday, Oct. 13 before taking on the Loggers the following day. Both matches begin at 12:00 p.m. on the Whitworth Soccer Field.
Video and live statistics links will be available on the Whitworth women's soccer schedule.
The Pirates: Whitworth (7-2-3, 5-1-2 NWC) enters the weekend with a three-match unbeaten streak after defeating George Fox and tying Lewis & Clark. Kalyn Gill was Whitworth's hero against George Fox, scoring an 84th minute match-winner off a deflected pass. Her goal came after Brixiada Mendoza put the Pirates up 1-0 early in the match off a corner kick from Gabriella Coprivnicar.
After defeating the Bruins, the Bucs couldn't find the back of the net against Lewis & Clark the following day. Molly Webster held the Pios scoreless for 110 minutes, but none of the Pirates 25 shots snuck past the Lewis & Clark goalkeeper, resulting in a 0-0 tie.
Magnificent Molly: Since she transferred to Whitworth Molly Webster has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Northwest Conference. The senior is tied for second in the NWC in saves (53) and sits in fifth in save percentage (.828) and goals against average (0.93).
Clutch Coby: Senior forward Coby Yoshimura has been nothing but clutch for the Pirates. Yoshimura is second in the Northwest Conference with three match-winning goals this season. The senior scored go-ahead goals against Carroll (Mont.), Whitman, and Linfield.
Working Overtime: The Pirates put in plenty of extra work early in their season. Four of Whitworth's first six matches needed overtime, and the Bucs went 2-0-2 in those contests. Whitworth remains undefeated (2-0-3) in overtime after its tie with Lewis & Clark last weekend.
Home Sweet Home: During third-year head coach Bryan Olson's tenure at Whitworth, the Pirates are 18-2-2 playing on the Whitworth Soccer Fsield. After their win and tie last weekend, the Bucs are 3-0-1 at home in 2018 after a combined record of 15-2-1 the two years prior.
The Lutes: Pacific Lutheran (6-3-3, 5-2-1 NWC) will be looking for wins over Whitworth and Whitman this weekend to remain in the race for their second straight NWC title. The Lutes dropped a 1-0 game to Puget Sound before a 1-1 draw with Willamette last week, leaving them four points behind the Bearcats in the NWC standings and one point behind the Bucs and Loggers. Pacific Lutheran's success is keyed by its staunch defense, which has only allowed four goals to NWC teams this season. Goalkeeper Natalie Robinson is among the best in the Northwest Conference, posting a 0.55 goals against average (GAA) with an .851 save percentage. The Pirates defeated the Lutes 1-0 in the last contest between the two teams. Hannah Rae Miller scored the match-winning goal in the 70th minute.
The Loggers: Puget Sound (6-4-2, 5-1-2 NWC) enters their weekend in Eastern Washington on a five-match unbeaten streak after defeating Pacific Lutheran and drawing with Linfield last week. Like the Lutes, Puget Sound relies on a top-tier defense to win matches. The Loggers have only allowed five goals in NWC play and nine total. Jamie Lange is the Puget Sound goalkeeper. She is fourth in the conference with a 0.70 GAA, but ranks first with a .909 save percentage. Mendoza was the lone Pirate to beat Lange when the Bucs took on the Loggers in Tacoma. The freshman's goal preserved a 1-1 draw on the road for Whitworth.
Looking Ahead: The Pirates travel to Walla Walla to take on Whitman on Wednesday, Oct. 17 before traveling to Forest Grove, Ore. to battle Pacific (Ore.) on Sunday, Oct. 21.
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).