WALLA WALLA - If you happened to turn your head for a few seconds at the wrong moment, you missed all of the scoring as Whitman College slipped past Willamette University 1-0 in Northwest Conference women's soccer action Sunday afternoon at the Whitman Athletic Fields.
Bang-bang passes from Kristin Innes and Jaclyn Rudd parted the waters for MacKenzie Hughes in the 12th minute of play, and the first-year midfielder didn't miss, driving a 20-yard strike into the netting.
It was the second goal in two games for Hughes, who has three goals on the season.
That was it for the scoring on Sunday, although both sides had their chances and combined for 33 shots.
Whitman's Emily Davis, a first-year keeper, posted her second shutout of the season, making two saves against 17 Willamette shots.
The Missionaries improved to 4-10-1 in the NWC and 6-11-1 overall. Willamette fell to 5-7-2 in conference and 6-10-2 on the season.
After Hughes scored early for Whitman, the two teams battled back and forth for the rest of the half. The Bearcats went to the break with a 12-8 edge in shots, although both Davis and Willamette keeper Kelly Gano made just one save apiece over the first 45 minutes.
The Bearcats took three of the first four shots in the second half, but the Missionaries ruled the last 30 minutes of play, outshooting the visitors 7-1.
Sophomore Julianne Masser had a one-on-one opportunity with Gano with 17 minutes left, but her chip shot rolled just wide of the far post.
A few minutes later, Gano made saves on shots by Whitman sophomores Erin Flannery and Marisa Poorboy. Gano finished with fives saves against 16 Whitman shots.
Poorboy led Whitman with five shots while junior Taylor Chock put two her three shots on goal. The Missionaries also got two shots apiece from Masser and Rudd.
Andrea Rowan had a game-high six shots for Willamette, which also four shots from Alex Batzer, three shots from Stephanie Skelly and two shots from Shannon Scott
Whitman travels to Portland Friday to conclude its season against Lewis & Clark.