Soccer Seniors Go Out with a Home Win

Mario Santos-Davidson, Staff Reporter

The Whitman men’s soccer team has had a solid 2017 season thus far, winning five games, tying three and losing three. This record has placed the team in fourth place in the Northwest Conference with 18 points, a single point behind third place Whitworth.

Carson Jones
Senior Noah Cavanaugh during practice.

This past weekend was the last one at home for the team, and Sunday, the Blues celebrated their four seniors: Noah Cavanaugh, Ben Freedman, Jacob Fritz and Gabe Jacobson, as well as junior Ridley Eastland-Fruit, who will finish at Whitman this year as part of the 3-2 program.

Both Cavanaugh and Freedman spoke to the value of bonding with teammates and playing four years with the same group of players.

Carson Jones
Senior Ben Freedman during practice

“I am very thankful to all the players I’ve been able to play with at Whitman, and especially those in my class who have had my back for the past four seasons,” Cavanaugh said. “Senior night is special to me because it is a culmination of four years of fun hard work with my best friends at Whitman,” Freedman added.

In addition to celebrating time with teammates, Jacob Fritz was able to thank other people who made it possible, his parents.

“It was also a really nice opportunity to thank my folks for all they have done to keep me in the game throughout the years and help me along the way,” Fritz said.

The weekend began with a 2-2 tie against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday as Cavanaugh opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season, a penalty early in the first half, before PLU responded with an equalizer before halftime. In the first minute of the second half, Cavanaugh’s cross found Fritz in the box who knocked it in to once again take a one-goal lead. PLU again replied with a goal of their own, and after a scoreless final half hour, each team walked away with a point.

Carson Jones
Senior Gabe Jacobson during practice

Whitman’s Sunday opponent was the Puget Sound Loggers, a team that came into the contest a single point ahead of Whitman in the NWC standings. Whitman began Senior Night by once again gaining an early lead via the head of sophomore Jadon Bachtold off a Cavanaugh cross, the eighth shot of a first half dominated by the Blues. After mitigating some early pressure from the Loggers, the scoreless second half gave Whitman a 1-0 victory that vaulted them over Puget Sound and into fourth place in the conference.

Cavanaugh described what it felt like to finish his collegiate career.

“I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet that I won’t play another home game in a Whitman jersey. Today was spectacular and to get a win for the squad was important for our season goals … it means the world to me to be part of a team like Whitman’s,” Cavanaugh said.

In addition to celebrating the careers of all the seniors, the weekend was a success on the pitch, putting the Blues in a position to have their best NWC finish in a while.

“Senior Night was really special and to get the win with my team was really awesome but we aren’t done, we got more work to do,” Fritz said.

The Blues will continue the season by travelling to Oregon next weekend to face off against Pacific University Friday and George Fox on Sunday. The regular season finale will be the following weekend against the team directly ahead of them in the standings, their eastern Washington rival Whitworth Pirates. Whitman lost two of the three first meetings with these teams, so the Blues will need to perform better the second time around in order to keep their position or even move up to close the season.