Despite dominating possession for most of the game, the Whitman women’s soccer team fell to the University of Puget Sound 2-0 at the Whitman Soccer Complex on Saturday.
Whitman took immediate control of possession in the first half, looking nothing like a team that has not beaten the UPS women since 1998. Senior Jaclyn Rudd and junior Hallie Swan provided the stability in the center of midfield for the Missionaries to keep possession through quick, short passes, their preferred style. On the other hand, UPS continued to try to stretch the field with long balls, but with little success. They were able to capitalize on one of their few first-half opportunities in the fifteenth minute. Whitman goalkeeper Emily Davis blocked a point-blank shot from Logger midfielder Cassie Winter, but was was powerless to stop the shot from midfielder Theresa Henle, who drove the ricochet from the top of the box to the back of the net.
Despite being down 1-0 early, the Missionaries maintained their composure and continued to control the run of play. The defense, led by junior outside back Taylor Thomas, was able to limit the Logger’s opportunities off of the long balls they continued to play. This refusal to adapt to Whitman’s possession-oriented style is what led to Puget Sound’s victory, and explains why they have won the past 10 Northwest Conference titles. Whitman’s back line gradually spread out to cover the Loggers, and in the 79th minute Robin Vieira was able to sneak in behind and tap in a goal to put UPS up for good, 2-0.
The University of Puget Sound Loggers are now 3-0-1 in Northwest Conference play, and 4-2-1 overall. Whitman now drops to 2-3 in NWC play, and 3-6 overall. The Missionaries will play tomorrow at noon against Pacific Lutheran University at the Whitman Soccer Complex.