Whit men take Whitworth to two OTs, fall 1-0

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SPOKANE — Whitman College’s only men’s soccer outing of the weekend turned out to be a bummer here Saturday afternoon as the Missionaries took league-leading Whitworth University into double-overtime only to absorb a disappointing 1-0 defeat.

“Yeah, very disappointing,” was how Whitman coach Mike Washington put it. “Especially since the majority of the game we had them on the rack a little bit.

“We had our chances,” Washington added. “During the game and right near the end of the game. It was just an unfortunate result.”

Whitworth’s Robby Ubben, a sophomore forward, scored the game-winner with just under five minutes remaining in the second overtime period. The victory enabled the Pirates to improve to 6-0-1 in Northwest Conference play and 9-0-2 for the season.

Whitworth, ranked No. 11 in the nation among NCAA Division III schools, increased its lead in the conference standings to three full points over Pacific Lutheran and five points over University of Puget Sound. Neither the Lutes nor the Loggers played Saturday.

Whitman, which settled to 4-7-2 on the season and is tied with Willamette for fifth place in the conference at 2-4-1, goes back to work next weekend with a Saturday match at Pacific Lutheran University and a Sunday battle at UPS.

“There’s no respite, that’s for sure,” Washington said as he looked ahead to the coming weekend. “But that’s all you can expect. It’s a tough league.

“We’ve played all three of the top teams now. We tied PLU and we beat UPS, and now we have to try and do it again.”

The Missionaries entertained the two Tacoma schools last weekend. They defeated Puget Sound 2-1 and played PLU to a scoreless double-overtime tie.

Whitworth’s Samuel Engle set up the Pirates’ dramatic game-winning goal by winning the ball away from a Whitman player near midfield and then hitting a streaking Ubben in stride near the top of the box. Ubben took one touch and then fired the ball past Whitman senior goalkeeper Michael Bathurst in the 105th minute of play.

“It was a great goal, including Sam’s pass, on the occasion of a big conference game and the amount of running that went into the game,” said Whitworth head coach Sean Bushey. “We feel good about the win.”

Kyle Novak made five saves for Whitworth to post his ninth shutout of the season. Two were crucial.

Whitman junior Jesse Mirman narrowly missed a game-winning goal just before the horn sounded to end regulation when his header was saved by Novak. Then, in the first overtime, Whitman senior Jed Jacobson had a shot on goal that was deflected by the Pirates goalkeeper.

Whitworth finished with only a 10-9 edge in shots, and shots on goal were even at five each. Whitman’s Bathurst was credited with four saves.

Washington singled out his midfielders — senior Andrew Clark, junior Reid Shaw, junior Junpi Tsuii and Mirman — for their outstanding play.

“They controlled the tempo of the game most of the game,” Washington said.

“We tried to take the game to them,” the coach said of his team’s strategy against the league leaders. “We changed formations to make it an attacking formation, and I thought we did a phenomenal job.”

Washington said his team is not discouraged despite the hard-fought defeat.

“That might be the case if we were being outplayed and just not good enough, but that’s not the case,” he said. “We’ve told this team from day one that we have more talent, depthwise, than most of the teams we have played.

“We have seven games left and we can still come out with a winning season, which is what we have to do. We have to keep bouncing back. We talk about adversity, and it’s not what happens to you but how you respond to adveristy.

“And that’s what we have to do again.”

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