Balanced Missionary women dominate Whitworth Invitational
WALLA WALLA — There’s a difference between shots and quality shots, Whitman College women’s soccer coach Heather Cato noted in the aftermath of her team’s 0-0 double-overtime tie in Sunday’s Northwest Conference match against Pacific Lutheran University on the Missionary campus.
“We had 26 shots in the game, and 14 of them were shots on goal,” Cato said. “But they weren’t all shots of great quality.
“PLU played with so many people in the box, so a lot of our shots weren’t as dangerous as they could have been.
“But sometimes you can’t change that,” she continued. “I told the girls I was happy with how they played but sometimes that’s how the game is played out. In soccer you can have the ball 90 percent of the time and still not win, and Sunday I would say we were unlucky having so many shots and not having a goal.”
Whitman outshot PLU 26-11, with Missionary goalkeeper Emily Davis, a junior from Eagle River, Ark., credited with four saves compared to 14 by the Lutes’ Marisa Gonzalez. But the team’s shot total underscores the Missionaries’ improvement so far this season.
“Earlier in the year, we weren’t shooting,” the coach said. “As a player I was a forward and I did goal scoring, and I have encouraged the girls to keep shooting. And we will keep shooting, and the goals will happen.”
Whitman piled up 25 shots during regulation play but just one during the two extra periods.
“I think we may have gotten a bit tired,” Cato said. “It was our second game of the weekend, and UPS on Saturday (a 2-0 loss to the Loggers) was a hard team to play because they wear you out. And almost two hours of soccer (on Sunday) is a lot of soccer.”
The tie left Whitman with a 2-4-1 league record and a 3-7-1 overall mark. Whitman returns to action next Sunday at Linfield.
“Linfield is another quality team, but I think we can play with them and I’m looking for positive results,” Cato said. “I think we still have a chance in our conference, and if we keep working there could be an interesting end to the season.”
And hard work is not an issue with this year’s team, the coach emphasized.
“I would rather have a hard-working team that is good than a great team that is lazy,” she said. “And we have that, a good group of players, great workers, and we have to keep working.”