WALLA WALLA — Despite missing three starters, Whitman College did not miss a beat as the Missionaries won their fourth straight match by downing Willamette, 3-1, Sunday afternoon at the Whitman Athletic Fields in a Northwest Conference men’s soccer match.
On Saturday, Whitman downed Linfield, 4-1, behind Daniel Kim’s two goals.
Whitman improves to 8-4-1 in conference and maintains its hold on third-place, while going over the .500 mark for the first time this season with an overall mark of 9-8-2 after Sunday’s win.
Against Willamette, the Missionaries sent their seniors off with a win — it was Senior Day as it was Whitman’s final home match of the season — by controlling the tempo for most of the match and outshooting the Bearcats 25-9.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on is just how hard we work and I think that every team that comes in here knows that,” Whitman head coach Mike Washington said after the match. “We had four of our key players out today and I think this team showed its depth of character today.”
The Bearcats got on the board first on a corner kick in the 13th minute. Sebastian Mortimer struck the ball into the net after it had passed several players in front of the mouth of the goal.
Four minutes later the Missionaries tied the match when Alex Barsher sent a cross from the right corner that Jesse Mirman one-timed into the goal. It was Mirman’s second goal of the weekend and the season.
Whitman’s Daniel Kim had two excellent chances in the first half; one was deflected by goalkeeper Braydon Calder, and the other Calder cradled after a point-blank shot. The teams went to intermission tied 1-all.
The Missionaries broke the tie when Barsher scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season after Junpei Tsuji put a soaring free kick into the box. The ball deflected off of goalkeeper Calder’s hands right into the waiting foot of Barsher, who quickly converted.
With the match still hanging in the balance, Sam Perkins dribbled down the right side and launched a coiling kick that bent around a diving Calder and into the goal, the shot coming from about 30 yards away. It was Perkins’ first goal of the season.
The Missionaries held off the Bearcats the rest of the way and had their fifth victory in their last six outings.
On Saturday, Whitman took a 1-0 lead late in the first half on a header by Barsher. Isaac Sappington assisted on the goal, sending a cross in front of the net that Barsher placed over the goalkeepers outstretched arms.
Minutes into the second half, the Wildcats tied the game at 1-1 on a goal by Domenico Del Prete, but the Missionaries answered back. Six minutes later, Mirman scored his first goal of the season from inside the box to regain the lead for Whitman. Kim got the assist.
Kim then did some goal scoring of his own, hitting a rocket from outside the box that hit the top right corner of the net. The second saw him beat two defenders and then angle right before putting ball past the goalkeeper.
“Those were two great goals by Daniel,” said Washington.
Niko Contos played the entire match in goal for Whitman, making six saves in notching the victory.
Whitman finishes the regular season Saturday at Whitworth, with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.