Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Weekend Recap: Men’s Soccer Sweeps Pacific, George Fox

Saturday marked the first regular season home game for Whitman men’s soccer, and the team overcame an early setback to put on a scoring clinic, beating Pacific University 5-1.

The weather was gray with scattered light showers, and it was evident on the field, especially late in the game when players on both sides had trouble finding their footing. Not a whole lot was going right for the Missionaries early on in the game. They couldn’t seem to find a working chemistry, and Pacific held the ball for much of the first portion of the game.  However, the offense came alive after a frustratingly simple turn and shoot finish from Pacific’s Ian Farley snuck past the outstretched hand of junior goalkeeper Stuart Ellsworth.

Whitman winger junior Jose Belech, used his superior speed to test the outside of the Pacific defense as midfielders senior Junpei Tsuji and junior Riley Paul worked the center of the field. After several near misses, Beleche was able to find the back of the net with a left-footed volley from the top of the box. From then on it was all Whitman, as sophomore Alex Barsher netted two goals. Seniors Chris Perkins and Cooper Schumacher each made one goal to round out the scoring. Schumacher’s ability to control the middle of the field really set the tone once the game settled in, making it nearly impossible for Pacific to initiate long passes toward the center of the field.

As it became ever more apparent that Whitman had control of the game, the subs started coming in quickly. By the end of the game, the majority of the bench had been cleared to get the younger players some game experience. For a team that appeared to have trouble scoring goals early in the season, this effort was a very welcome sign of things to come.

Sunday’s game was a much more physical battle, but Whitman managed to hold off the George Fox University Bruins 3-1.  The Missionary defense struggled early, giving up the first goal of the game. After a parried save by Ellsworth on a deep shot, George Fox was able to punch it in for the first goal of the game only 15 minutes into the first half. After regrouping, Barsher once again worked his scoring touch in this game, as he was able to answer back 30 minutes later with a goal of his own.

Despite being tied at half, Whitman had to like their chances, as they had several legitimate scoring opportunities including several free kicks from the edge of the box and success on set pieces from the corner. Just like Saturday, the second half was dominated by the Missionaries. After some early unsuccessful pressure, sophomore Daniel Kim eluded the George Fox back line on a beautiful run, forcing the goalie to commit. Kim then dumped the ball off to a charging Paul for the finish.

Whitman refused to let up after taking the lead, giving themselves plenty of scoring opportunities. Only four short minutes after Paul’s goal, Barsher was able to sneak another goal by the George Fox keeper after a scrum in front of goal following a well-placed corner. Barsher was once again the center of the action as he was fouled hard making an attempt at a third goal, setting up Tsuji with an ultimately unsuccessful penalty kick. After that, it appeared Whitman wanted to finish the game healthily and did what they could to wind down the clock. Overall, this gave Whitman a successful start to the conference season, coming away from the weekend 2-0-0 with a +6 goal differential.

Next weekend, the Missionaries travel west to play University of Puget Sound on Saturday, Oct. 5 and Pacific Lutheran University on Sunday, Oct. 6.

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