Joined at the hip by the trapped soccer ball, Whitman's Misha Evertz, right, and Whitworth's Kristin Wucherer battle it out during Wednesday's Northwest Conference season opener for both schools. Whitworth won 1-0.
Photo by Jeff Horner.
WALLA WALLA — Whitman College’s women’s Northwest Conference soccer opener didn’t go exactly as planned here Wednesday afternoon, but third-year coach Heather Cato was far from discouraged.
“Although the result didn’t go in our favor, I am confident in this team and the players on it,” Cato said in the aftermath of a 1-0 loss to Whitworth in which the Pirates punched home the game’s only goal with less than five minutes remaining in regulation play.
“I believe this game will be a solid motivation for our team going into the weekend,” Cato added.
Whitman, which saw its season record dip to 1-4, has two more NWC home matches this weekend. Willamette University is in town Saturday for a noon affair and Lewis & Clark College invades the Missionary campus on Sunday, also slated for a noon start.
Willamette won its conference opener Wednesday with a 4-3 overtime victory at Lewis & Clark to extend its season record to 3-1. The Bearcats also own a 2-1 victory over Whittier College last Friday in Salem, Ore.
That same Whittier team edged the Missionaries 1-0 in overtime Sunday in Salem.
Wednesday’s loss was the fourth straight for Lewis & Clark following a season-opening victory over Clackamas Community College in Portland. The Pioneers play at Whitworth on Saturday.
Whitworth’s victory Wednesday on the Missionary pitch was its first of the season after four straight defeats.
The Missionaries outshot the Pirates 16-7 overall and missed numerous scoring chances in the first half when they held an 11-1 advantage in shots attempted.
“We played well and controlled most of the ball,” Cato said. “We just didn’t capitalize on our chances.”
Finally, with four minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the contest, Whitworth’s Amy Sterk received a crossing pass from Tiara Pajimola and headed the ball past Whitman goalkeeper Emily Davis and into the net for the winning goal.
“Emily played with confidence and had some great plays in and around the box,” Cato said of Davis, a junior from Eagle River, Ark. Davis was credited with two saves.