Women’s Soccer Team Drops Home, Conference Opener to Rival Whitworth

Quin Nelson

Despite a promising first half, the Whitman women’s soccer team lost their home and conference opener to the Whitworth Pirates at the Whitman Soccer Complex Wednesday afternoon.

The Missionaries put on quite a show in the first half, bombarding the Whitworth goal with 11 shots while only allowing one. The Whitworth back line struggled with the speed of First-year forward Clara Merlino and Senior outside midfielder Julianne Masser, who each created several scoring chances.

The Whitman midefield, led by Senior Jaclyn Rudd, was able to control possession and put pressure on the visiting Pirates to routinely win the ball back for the Missionaries. While Whitworth was unable to maintain much possession, they had a few dangerous counter-attacking opportunities, which would spell trouble for Whitman in the second half.

The second half turned out to be far more even, with Whitworth outshooting Whitman, 6-5. Neither team managed to control significant amounts of possession, and Whitworth was able to find more dangerous shots by finding space in behind the Whitman defense. In the 85th minute, Whitworth finally broke the scoring drought with First-year midfielder, Tiara Pajimola’s cross to Junior forward Amy Sterk, who headed it home past Whitman goalkeeper Emily Davis.

Whitworth goalkeeper Andrea Stump was able to withstand Whitman’s shooting barrage and keep the clean sheet. The Whitworth Pirates are now 1-0 in Northwest Conference play, and 1-4 overall. The Whitman Missionaries are 0-1 in NWC play, and drop to 1-4 overall. Their next match will be at the Whitman Soccer Complex at 12 p.m. against Willamette University.