by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth Pirates played through wind, rain, and cold to secure a 1-0 victory over the Puget Sound Loggers.
The Pirates move to 8-6-1 on the season and 6-3-1 in Northwest Conference play. Puget Sound drops to 7-5-1 overall and 5-4-1 in the NWC.
"I'm really proud of our guys," head coach Morgan Cathey said. "They fought hard all the way to the end.
Whitworth nearly took the lead in the 30th minute. Jonah Snyder curled an 18-yard free-kick into the back of the net, but the linesman negated the goal for an offside call.
As a result, Daniel Alvarez broke the 0-0 deadlock three minutes later. Puget Sound goalkeeper Wren Norwood saved Eric Espinoza's initial shot, but the ball trickled out of Norwood's reach and Alvarez took advantage.
"Danny is sick, but he was our best player in the first half," Cathey said. "He earned that goal.
Snyder nearly followed Alvarez's goal with one of his own. The senior sent a diving header towards goal, but Norwood fell on it to keep the Loggers within one.
After Norwood's save, the Pirates entered the half with the 1-0 lead. Whitworth maintained a 7-2 edge in shots at halftime, and led the Loggers 5-0 in shots on goal. Puget Sound took three first half free kicks to Whitworth's one.
The second half would be a battle between the two goalkeepers.
Jesus Nunez's turn to impact the match came early in the period. Vince Von Luehrte fired a 20-yard shot towards goal, but Nunez made a full-extension save to keep Puget Sound scoreless. Then, Nunez laid out again to save a header from Benjamin Whitham.
Norwood followed Nunez's fantastic saves with a pair of his own. On consecutive 76th minute corner kicks, Snyder found Kyle Morris in the box. Unfortunately for the Pirates, Norwood dove to save both shots and kept his team in the match.
The Pirates called on Nunez again in the 82nd minute. Luke Murdock headed a shot to the bottom right corner of the goal, but Nunez met it for his fourth save of the match.
"Jesus played through wind and rain today and kept us in the match," Cathey said.
Whitworth finished the match with an 18-7 lead in shots and five more shots on goal. The Loggers took eight corner kicks to Whitworth's six.
The Pirates are back in action tomorrow. Whitworth closes out their weekend at home with a match against Pacific Lutheran at 2:30 p.m. on the Whitworth Soccer Field.