Whitman men suffer ‘little bit of a heartbreaker’

Monday, Oct 1, 2012

WALLA WALLA — One day after stunning previously unbeaten University of Puget Sound 2-1 in overtime, Whitman College’s men’s soccer team suffered a 2-1 loss to Pacific Lutheran University Sunday on the Missionary campus.

“A little bit of a heartbreaker,” Whitman coach Mike Washington said. “By result it may have been a step back, but one of the things we have always tried to do is work as hard as we can to make it difficult for teams to come in here and play us, and I think we did that again this weekend in both of our games.”

The weekend split left Whitman at 2-3-1 in conference matches and 4-6-2 overall heading into next Saturday’s match against league-leading Whitworth in Spokane. The Pirates are 5-0-1 in conference following Sunday’s 0-0 tie against UPS.

PLU broke on top in the first half Sunday when Justin Manao scored unassisted at 29:02. Whitman countered in the second half on an unassisted goal by Danny Smith’s, a junior from Portland, Ore., at 65:40.

The Lutes then knocked in the winner at 80:26 as Emmanuel Amarh assisted Jeff Piaquadio’s goal.

Whitman outshot PLU 11-9, but Lutes goalkeeper Joe Rayburn thwarted seven Missionary shots on goal. Senior Michael Bathurst (Portland, Ore.), the Missionaries’ goalkeeper, was credited with three saves.

“We had to change our style of play, and it took us about 20 minutes to make the adjustment,” Washington said of Sunday’s match. “PLU likes to plug up the middle and that requires a different system of attack. From that point on, we were in good control of the game.

“They pressured us early and we gave the ball away in the middle of the field. Once we made adjustments and played wider, we were fine.”

Whitman has just one game on tap this coming weekend. The Missionaries travel to Spokane on Saturday to face the first-place Pirates, who played University of Puget Sound to a scoreless tie on Sunday. Whitman defeated the Loggers 2-1 Saturday in Walla Walla.

“I don’t think we should fear anybody,” Washington said as he looked ahead to the Whitworth match against a Pirates team that is 5-0-1 in league play and 8-0-2 overall. “We compete, and every team knows that. Whitworth will know that when we go up there. We’re going to play our game and see if we can make them make some adjustments.

“Every team is different, and teams match up differently,” Washington added. “But it was pleasing to see that tie score up in Spokane Sunday.”

Whitman will host two junior varsity development games this week, vs. Walla Walla University Wednesday and vs. University of Great Falls Sunday.

“We’ve got 39 players on our roster and we will use about 14 of them,” Washington said. “We have several players who haven’t played in our varsity games.”