TACOMA - An early 1-0 lead failed to stand as Whitman College dropped a 2-1 men's soccer decision to Northwest Conference-leading Pacific Lutheran here Sunday afternoon.
For the second time in as many days, junior Leland Matthaeus scored early in the contest to give the Missionaries a 1-0 advantage.
The game was less than 15 minutes old when Matthaeus ran onto a long pass from junior Jed Jacobson, fought off a defensive challenge and then finished to the lower left corner of the goal.
The Missionary lead almost survived until halftime, but the Lutes got the equalizer at the 43:37 mark when Kevin Wien headed home Surafel Wodajo's corner kick.
Pacific Lutheran tallied what proved to the game-winning goal midway through the second half. Whitman keeper Michael Bathurst made a diving stop of Wodajo's shot. Giancarlo Santoro followed up on the backside of the play and easily knocked home the rebound.
Trying to pull even, Whitman ripped off five shots over the final 20 minutes, but Pacific Lutheran keeper Joe Rayburn made two saves to deny the Missionaries.
The Lutes outshot the visitors 17-10, although both teams put five shots on frame. The home team also had a slight 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
Matthaeus with four shots and sophomore Cooper Schumacher with two had the bulk of Whitman's attempts.
The victory keeps Pacific Lutheran in first place in the NWC with an 8-1 record (11-2).
Whitman remains tied for third place with records of 5-4 and 5-7-2.
The Missionaries now play four of their final five games at home, starting Saturday and Sunday against Pacific and George Fox at 2:30 p.m. both days.