by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After outscoring opponents 6-1 in their first weekend of Northwest Conference play, the Whitworth Pirates return home this weekend to take on Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound.
The Bucs open the weekend against the Loggers on Saturday, Sept. 22 and close it the following day against the Lutes. Both matches are scheduled to kick-off at 2:30 p.m. on the Whitworth Soccer Field.
Live statistics and video links will be available on the Whitworth men's soccer schedule.
The Pirates: Whitworth (3-4-1, 2-0) dominated in its first weekend of NWC play, shutting out George Fox in a 4-0 win before defeating Pacific (Ore.) 2-1 the following day. Four Pirates scored in the win over the Bruins, including two who scored their first collegiate goals. Drew Williams netted Whitworth's only first half goal before Drew Wilson, Scott Penner, Luke Denke all poured in goals in the final 45 minutes.
Two goals in three minutes gave the Bucs their second win of the weekend. Wilson scored the first, firing away from 20 yards out to net his second goal of the weekend. Just minutes later, Azzam Azzam sent a pass to a wide open Tyler Pangia, who booted home the Bucs' second goal. The Whitworth defense and goalkeeper Jesus Nunez held on in the second half to ensure they would leave Oregon undefeated.
Saving the Day: Whitworth's trio of goalkeepers have been on fire during the team's first two weeks of the season. Jimmy Choi, Alex Pells, and Jesus Nunez have combined for 5.71 saves per game, best in the Northwest Conference. Choi, Pells, and Nunez are also first in the NWC in save percentage with an .800 mark.
The Loggers: Puget Sound (3-3, 1-1 NWC) comes to Spokane after winning three of its last four matches, dropping their only match during that time to defending conference champion Willamette. Dane Schatz and Sean Hamel lead the Loggers offensively. Hamel's three assists are second-most in the conference and Schatz's three goals place him in a tie for third in the NWC. Logger goalkeeper Wren Norwood is among the best in the conference, placing fourth in saves (16), save percentage (.727), and goals against average (1.38). Puget Sound and Whitworth split their matches last year. The Loggers won 4-1 in Tacoma and the Bucs earned a 1-0 victory in Spokane.
The Lutes: Pacific Lutheran (5-3, 1-1 NWC) won its first four matches of the year, but has dropped three of its last four entering this weekend's games. The Lutes fell 3-1 to Willamette and defeated Linfield 1-0 in their first weekend of Northwest Conference play. Joe Summartino leads the Lute offense with four goals, tied for second-best in the NWC. In goal, RJ Noll is third in the conference in save percentage (.742) and goals against average (1.29). Pacific Lutheran won the season series in 2017, drawing with Whitworth at home before pulling off a 3-2 comeback win in Spokane.
Looking Ahead: Whitworth travels to Oregon to take on Linfield and Willamette next weekend. The Bucs open the weekend against the Bearcats on Saturday, Sept. 29 and close it in a matchup with the Wildcats on Sunday, Sept. 30.
The Coach: Morgan Cathey continues a long line of highly successful men's soccer coaches at Whitworth University that began with Einar Thorarinsson (1986-1994), who followed his time at Whitworth with a long stint as the head coach at Gonzaga University, and continued with Sean Bushey (1996-2012), who now coaches in Minnesota.
Cathey enters his sixth season as men's soccer coach at Whitworth in the fall of 2018 and has led the Pirates to a record of 67-19-11 through his first five seasons. He guided the Pirates to three consecutive Northwest Conference titles from 2014-16 and made three straight appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Cathey's record against NWC opponents is 50-13-10 over his first five seasons.