WALLA WALLA - Cooper Crosby headed home a crossing pass from Sam Freedman with just under two minutes left in the second overtime to give Whitman College a 2-1 Northwest Conference soccer victory over Pacific University Saturday afternoon at the Whitman Athletic Fields.
Whitman, which outshot the Boxers 20-11 on the day, improved to 5-3-2 in the NWC and 7-6-3 on the season.
Pacific, dropping to 7-2-1 in conference (11-2-2 overall), remains in first place by a single point over Pacific Lutheran. Whitman is just five points back of the Boxers in the standings.
Following a scoreless first half, Whitman jumped in front when senior Conner Bottomly converted a penalty kick in the 64th minute of the second half. Bottomly, notching his fourth goal of the season, drove the ball into the left corner of the net as Pacific keeper Andrew Stevermer guessed in the other direction.
The PK was awarded after Whitman's Leland Matthaeus was pulled down in the box with the Missionaries attacking the Boxer goal.
The lead held until the 79th minute when Pacific's Patrick Murray scooted through a seam on the right side of the defense and fired a scoring strike to the left corner of the net.
Less than a minute later, Freedman drove a ball from the left side that Stevermer saved to keep the game knotted at 1-1. With three minutes left in regulation, Crosby headed a ball off the crossbar, although the shot was waved off on an offsides call.
Early in the first 10-minute overtime, Matthaeus tossed a long throw-in from the left sideline that found Freedman at the far post, but Freedman's shot was pushed just wide by Stevermer.
With just under four minutes left in the first OT, Brian Percival dribbled around two defenders and launched a bullet that Stevermer managed to block.
After outshooting the Boxers 5-0 in that first overtime, Whitman generated a 4-1 shot advantage through the first eight minutes of the second session. Whitman keeper Michael Bathurst had to make only his second save of the day at the 106:30 mark while Stevermer made his ninth and final save a minute later.
After Crosby missed wide left following a Whitman corner kick, Freedman hustled a ball up the left side and rifled a cross to the center of the goal mouth. Crosby's hard header deflected off the keeper into the net, setting off a wild Missionary celebration.
It was the first goal of the season for Crosby, Whitman's all-conference center back on defense.
For the game, Whitman put 11 of its 20 shots on goal while Pacific was on frame with three of 11 attempts.
Both Freedman and Matthaeus were on target with three of their four shots. Bottomly and Cooper each took three shots.
Murray and Avery Neal led the Boxers with three shots apiece.
Whitman stays at home to host George Fox at 2:30 p.m. today.