Men’s soccer preview

Peter Clark

As the 2012-2013 season begins, the Missionaries look to take their steadily rising program to the next level and seize the Northwest Conference crown.   

Coming off a season where the Missionaries finished tied for third with the University of Puget Sound, head coach Mike Washington believes his team has the personnel to contend for a championship.

Team practice on Monday. All photos by Ben Woletz.

“We have the base of probably one of the best returning teams. We have senior leadership and some juniors and sophomores who could really step up and play,” said Washington.

Notable players include four 2011 NWC All-Conference performers: senior forward Leland Matthaeus, junior defender Cooper Schumacher and junior midfielders Junpei Tsuji and Jesse Mirman.

In order to prepare themselves for a run in the Northwest Conference, the Missionaries stacked up their non-conference schedule with a heavy dosage of quality teams from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). On Aug. 31, Whitman defeated the defending SCIAC champions, University of Redlands, on their home field by a score of 1-0.

Being able to play such good teams on the road only benefits the team, according to Washington.

“I think we’re in a good place. Anytime you can go away with your team is good. It’s always more fun than staying on campus,” said Washington.

The Missionaries begin their conference schedule at home next weekend on Saturday, Sept. 15 against Willamette University, followed by a match-up with Linfield College on Sunday, Sept. 16. Both games begin at 2:30 p.m.

Quin Nelson ’16 at a team practice on Monday