Whitman women’s soccer season ends with win

Noah Mogey

Credit: Van Neste
Credit: Van Neste

On a lazy Friday morning the Whitman women’s soccer team played their final home game. Despite an inauspicious start: referees being 45 minutes late: they comfortably beat the Lewis And Clark Pioneers 3-0. It was the last game for the team’s many seniors, including Corina Gabbert, whose third hat-trick of the season moved her past ’08 alumna Kristen Berndt as Whitman’s all-time leading goal scorer. It was the 45th goal of her career.

Credit: Van Neste
Credit: Van Neste

The Missionaries controlled the game from start to finish, punishing Lewis And Clark’s midfield and leaving senior goalie Courtney Porter, who recorded her 25th  career shutout, untested. The first score came in the 26th  minute, when junior Kristin Innes’s sublime through met Gabbert in stride. She then blew by her defender to the left and placed a gem in the far post, giving Lewis and Clark’s goalie no opportunity to spoil the goal.

Whitman came out of the half strong, when, a penalty in the 43rd  minute gave Gabbert a penalty kick. The goalie read it and Whitman was unable to convert, but would get another chance in the 46th, when an audacious cross from sophomore Amy Hasson provided the impetus for a Gabbert header. It was her second of the game and it tied her for the school’s all-time record.

The game remained stagnant at 2-0; Whitman’s relentless assault of Lewis and Clark’s box gave them no good chances on goal. But, with the game coming to a close, Gabbert connected with a ball from sophomore Marisol Fonzeca. She made a powerful run, beating three Lewis And Clark defenders, all of whom had a good look, and finished with a well-placed ball that slipped by an oncoming goalie. It completed her hat-trick and broke the Whitman scoring record.

The Missionaries’ season ended on strong notes all around. It was their fourth  win in their last six games.

“Our strong finish is truly reflective of the character of this team. We could have folded after the way the first half of the season went but we didn’t,” said Gabbert. “We persevered and figured out ways to be more successful as a team and I think that is what we will all remember about this season.”

Defensively, Porter turned in her fifth clean sheet in the last eight games. She was aided by a strong back-line, held strong by senior DeeDee McCormick’s brilliant defensive performance in her last game as a Missionary. It was also the final game for senior midfielders Liz Forbes and Kendall Shibuya, who provided consistency and stability in the defensive line throughout the game.

Whitman finished with 20 shots on goal to Lewis and Clark’s 12, and held a ball-possession advantage throughout the game. Assists came from Hasson and Innes.

Head Coach Scott Shields’s squad ended its season 8-9-1 overall and fifth in the Northwest Conference, but with many holes to fill for next year.

“I have no doubt that the team will step up next year. With only two juniors on the team this year and one of them sidelined with an injury all season, the sophomores and freshmen were forced to take on more responsibility and they definitely stepped up,” Gabbert said.  “They will have even more responsibility next year but they demonstrated this season that they are more than capable of rising to the occasion.”

Shields echoed these same sentiments.

“What this team learned about themselves this season has put them in a place to be even more successful than ever before . . . They have the tools they need to do whatever they set their minds to and if we are able to come together, support each other and continue with our positive habits, next year will be another great year for Whitman women’s soccer,” she said.

In other news, the men’s soccer team ended their season Saturday in Spokane against Whitworth University. Despite 12 saves by first-year goalie Devin Kuh, Whitman fell 1-0. Whitman was outshot 20-10. The game was a disappointing finish to a season marked by let-downs, with Whitman finishing 4-12-3.