Whit women split soccer matches

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WALLA WALLA — Whitman College settled for a split of its weekend’s Northwest Conference women’s soccer matches Sunday.

Lewis & Clark scored a goal in each half and came away with a 2-0 victory, the Pioneers’ first of the season after five consecutive losses. Whitman’s record dipped to 2-5, and both clubs are 1-2 in conference play.

Whitman opened the weekend on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over Willamette while Lewis & Clark came out on the losing end of a 2-0 affair at Whitworth University in Spokane.

“We made some critical mistakes and they capitalized on them,” Whitman coach Heather Cato said of Sunday’s tough loss. “Now we need to have a good, focused week of pracatices in order to prepare for two more quality teams.”

The Whits travel to Forest Grove, Ore., Saturday to face Pacific and then to Newberg, Ore., Sunday to take on George Fox in a pair of NWC counters.

Emily Thompson scored L&C’s first goal unassisted at 9:58 of the first half and she provided an assist for Sarah Breninger, who tallied the Pioneers second goal with 54:10 showing on the second-half clock.

There were just 14 shots attempted in the defensive struggle, seven by each team. Whitman goalkeeper Emily Davis was credited with three saves while L&C goalie Geena Fong blocked two Whitman shots on goal.

Cato was in a much happier frame of mind Saturday afternoon as the Whits topped Willamette and put Wednesday’s 1-0 home loss to Whitworth in their rear view mirror.

“This game was a great response to the tough lose we had against Whitworth on Wednesday,” Cato said, referencing the Pirates’ narrow victory on a goal in the game’s final five minutes.

“Willamette is a good team, and both teams played well,” Cato said of the Bearcats, who are lost 2-0 at Whitworth Sunday to drop to 1-2 in conference matches and 3-3 overall.

The Missionaries scored the only goal of Saturday’s match in the 66th minute when senior captain Jaclyn Rudd capitalized on a Bearcats penalty by driving a penalty kick past Willamette goalkeeper Nicole Price from 25 yards out on the top of the box.

After that it was up to Davis and the Missionary defense to preserve the victory.

“I have to commend our defense and our goalkeeper,” Cato said. “That last 15 minutes Willamette put a lot of pressure on us and the defense battled to hold on to the shutout.”

Whitman outshot Willamette 11-5 for the game.

Davis played the entire game in goal for Whitman and was credited with one save as she posted her first shutout of the season.

And Price, the Bearcats goalkeeper, thwarted two Whitman shots on goal.

“We had some great chances,” Cato said of her team’s missed scoring opportunities. “Clara Merlino hit the crossbar with one shot, and their goalkeeper came up big and played a great game.”

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