Crosby, Bottomly lead five Whits named to All-NWC men's team

Whitman goes 7-0-1 in its final eight games and misses sharing the NWC title by one game.

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WALLA WALLA - Seniors Cooper Crosby and Conner Bottomly headline a group of five Whitman College soccer players who have earned All-Northwest Conference honors.

Crosby and Bottomly were voted by conference coaches to the 12-man All-NWC First Team.

Sam Freedman, a Whitman junior, was named to the All-NWC Second Team. Junior Brian Percival and sophomore Leland Matthaeus received Honorable Mention recognition.

Whitman as a team finished its season with seven victories and one tie in its last eight games. The Missionaries finished in second place in the NWC for the second time in three seasons, and missed sharing in the conference title by one game.

Crosby, a starter on the defensive backline since his freshman season, was voted to the All-NWC Second Team as a junior after earning All-NWC Honorable Mention recognition as a sophomore. He served as a team captain in each of his last two seasons.

Crosby led Whitman in minutes played.

"No one wanted to play against Cooper," Whitman coach Mike Washington said. "None of our guys wanted to play against him in practice. He practiced the way he played in games. He was hard on everyone."

Washington said Crosby also was "incredibly gifted in the air," showing an uncommon knack for elevating to head balls away from the Whitman goal."

Crosby added to the offense with one goal and one assist. His header against Pacific came with less than two minutes left in the second overtime, giving Whitman a thrilling 2-1 win in late October.

Crosby played 71 games in four seasons as a starter.

Bottomly, a midfielder-forward, led Whitman in scoring this season with eight goals and three assists. He finished fourth in the NWC in scoring, and only one player in the conference had more goals.

Bottomly helped with Whitman's late season surge, contributing three goals to a pair of weekend victories over Linfield and Willamette. He was named NWC Offensive Player of the Week following those two games.

Bottomly played in all 20 games this fall and was second to Crosby in minutes played.

Bottomly, a senior captain, gave Whitman's offensive attack a great deal of versatility, Washington said.

"Conner was not just one-dimensional," he said. "He was quick, good with the ball at his feet, and good in the air."

Bottomly, who missed most of his sophomore season due to injury, bounced back a year ago to start 18 of 19 games and earn All-NWC Honorable Mention recognition.

Freedman, a midfielder, was Whitman's second-leading scorer this season with eight goals and two assists. He put 19 of his 35 shots (54.3 percent on goal) during the season and had a hand (head or foot) in some of Whitman's more dramatic victories.

Matthaeus and Percival, Whitman's two players on the Honorable Mention list, also played key roles in the team's success.

Matthaeus, a forward, was Whitman's third-leading scorer with five goals and five assists. Three of his goals were game-winning strikes, which tied him with Freedman for the team lead in that statistical category.

Matthaeus, who topped Whitman's offensive players in minutes played, finished second in the NWC in total shots taken with 56 in 20 games. His game-winning goals came against Puget Sound, George Fox and Minnesota's Bethel University (non-conference).

Matthaeus got off to a good start at Whitman a year ago as a freshman, contributing two assists while starting three of his first six games. A knee injury, however, then ended his freshman season.

In his second season as a starting outside defender, Percival was one of only four players on the team to log more than 1,500 minutes of playing time. He helped preserve a 1-0 victory over Whitworth late in the season by stopping a Pirate break-away.

Percival played in 19 games a year ago as a sophomore, starting 16. He had two game-winning goals and one assist that season.

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