Freshman's hat trick leads Whitman College men to shutout of Wolves

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WALLA WALLA - Freshman Michael Axelson's hat trick helped Whitman College roll to a 5-0 non-conference soccer victory against Walla Walla University Tuesday night at Whitman Athletic Fields.

Axelson, one of seven starting Missionary freshman, notched his first college goal eight minutes into the game, getting an assist from junior Jordan Thomas.

Junior Ord assisted on Axelson's second (33:56) and third (84:49) goals. Ord earned his second assist by fighting his way up the right baseline to feed Axelson the ball in front of the net.

Whitman outshot the Wolves 11-5 in the first half and led 2-0 at the break. Walla Walla keeper Jon McLane kept his side close with five quality saves.

Walla Walla's best shot at scoring came when Philimon Tudor fired a bullet at the Missionary goal with 14 minutes left in the opening half and the home team nursing a 1-0 lead.

But Devin Kuh, Whitman's sophomore keeper, went airborne to knock the shot away.

Whitman upped its lead to 3-0 early in the second half when freshman Forrest Epstein collected his first college goal. Junior Brian Percival triggered the scoring play with a pass up the left sideline for junior Sam Freedman, who centered the ball as Epstein rose to block it past the keeper.

Epstein registered his first college assist on Whitman's fourth goal of the night, sending a cross to the top of the 18-yard box for sophomore Jed Jacobson, who scored to the far post in the 79th minute.

Whitman dominated the second half, finishing with a 28-8 advantage in shots. That included a 13-3 bulge in shots on goal.

Axelson, who spent 52 minutes on the pitch in his first extended playing time of the season, put all seven of his shots on goal.

Ord generated four shots and sophomore Leland Matthaeus three more.

Whitman also got two shots each from Percival, Freedman, senior Conner Bottomly and freshman Reid Shaw.

Tudor took five of Walla Walla's eight shots. Bengt Gustavsson added two shots for the Wolves.

Kuh made a total of three saves for Whitman to post his first shutout of the season.

Whitman returns to Northwest Conference play this weekend, hosting Pacific Lutheran Saturday and Puget Sound Sunday. Both games start at 2:30 p.m.

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