Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Men’s soccer drops final home game despite best efforts

In the early stages of the Whitman men’s soccer team’s Oct. 27 contest with the University of Great Falls, the dark, almost black clouds encircling the pitch were not the only things foretelling the team’s doom; that its opponents rattled off four shots on goal within the first third of the first half did nothing to ease the sense of foreboding, even if  none of these shots resulted in goals. While the Missionaries did manage to limit the Argonauts’ goal opportunities after the first 15 minutes of play, they ultimately fell short, losing 1-0.

Playing in front of their home crowd for the final time this season, the non-conference loss dropped the Missionaries to 3-10-3 overall. Miguel Mendez scored the game’s lone goal in the 57th minute by following his own deflected shot and lightly pushing the ball into a wide open net from roughly six meters out. With this win, Mendez and the Argonauts improved to an impressive 14-4-0 on the season.

Although a loss was hardly the desired result, Whitman Head Coach Mike Washington was pleased with the way his team played.

“Our effort was really good . . . We had them pinned back for a good period of time,” he said.

The mere fact that Whitman, a Division III, non-scholarship school, competed as well as it did against a powerful National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) opponent is something of an accomplishment in itself.

“These are scholarship schools,” said Washington, before suggesting that this puts schools like Whitman at a disadvantage.

Despite this disadvantage, stalemate would be the most accurate word to characterize the middle phases of the game. The Missionaries showed signs of life, pushed the ball deep into the Argonauts’ territory on more than a few occasions and were fairly effective in stifling the opponents offense before Mendez’s goal broke a scoreless tie midway through the second half.

Washington described the goal that rendered his team’s bid for a victory unsuccessful as “a little letdown.”

“It looked like Tim [Shu] had it.   It was just unfortunate; normally that gets cleared away,” he said.

In this game, however, it was not. After Mendez scored, Whitman mounted several threats on the goal, including a powerful strike by first-year midfielder Andrew Clark that rocketed towards the goal’s upper left corner before finding the hands of Great Falls goalkeeper Zach Johnson, but was unable to  attain the equalizer. In the first half, Clark narrowly missed the goal on an even more authoritative kick.

Looking beyond missed chances and other in-game minutiae, this was the final home game for seniors Todd Wallenius and Jasper Lipton.

“We’ve really only got two [seniors] playing right now and they’ve given a good four years,” said Washington.

Wallenius, who earned a spot on the All-NWC Second Team last season, currently leads Whitman with six goals, while Lipton has been a regular in the midfield this season.

Washington lamented the fact that disappointment has marred Wallenius and Lipton’s senior seasons, but refused to let negativity overcome him.

“Sometimes we’ve got to look beyond the senior season and hope that we’ll be better next season,” he said.

As for this season, the first of the Missionaries’ final three games: all of which will be against conference opponents: will take place against Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. on Saturday, Oct. 31.

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