Five Whits Get NWC Men's Soccer Honors

News Release Date:
Thursday, November 11, 2010

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Seniors Cooper Crosby and Conner Bottomly headline a group of five Whitman College soccer players who have earned All-Northwest Conference honors.

Crosby and Bottomly were voted by conference coaches to the 12-man All-NWC First Team.

Cooper Crosby
Conner Bottomly

Sam Freedman, a Whitman junior, was named to the All-NWC Second Team. Junior Brian Percival and sophomore Leland Matthaeus received Honorable Mention recognition.

Whitman as a team finished its season with seven victories and one tie in its last eight games. The Missionaries finished in second place in the NWC for the second time in three seasons, and missed sharing in the conference title by one game.

Crosby, a starter on the defensive backline since his freshman season, was voted to the All-NWC Second Team as a junior after earning All-NWC Honorable Mention recognition as a sophomore. He served as a team captain in each of his last two seasons.

Crosby (Vashon, Wash.; Vashon Island HS), who led Whitman in minutes played this season, was a rugged, physical defender who posed a constant concern for opposing offenses.

"No one wanted to play against Cooper," Whitman coach Mike Washington said. "None of our guys wanted to play against him in practice. He practiced the way he played in games. He was hard on everyone."

Cooper Crosby
Conner Bottomly

Washington said Crosby also was "incredibly gifted in the air," showing an uncommon knack for elevating to head balls away from the Whitman goal.

"Cooper's been a great leader for us," Washington said. "He has always had high expectations of himself and his teammates."

Crosby also added to the offense this season with one goal and one assist. His header against Pacific came with less than two minutes left in the second overtime, giving Whitman a thrilling 2-1 win in late October.

Crosby also headed home a goal against Pacific in a 1-1 draw during his sophomore season.

In his four seasons as a starter, Crosby played in 71 total games.

Bottomly, a midfielder-forward, led Whitman in scoring this season with eight goals and three assists. He finished fourth in the NWC in scoring, and only one player in the conference had more goals.

Bottomly (Kalispell, Mont.; Colorado Rocky Mountain School) helped with Whitman's late season surge, contributing three goals to a pair of weekend victories over Linfield and Willamette. He was named NWC Offensive Player of the Week following those two games.

Playing in all 20 games this fall, Bottomly was second only to Crosby in total minutes played.

Bottomly, a senior captain, gave Whitman's offensive attack a great deal of versatility, Washington said. "Conner was not just one-dimensional. He was quick, good with the ball at his feet, and good in the air.

"Conner's mindset was a little different than a traditional striker. He played well in any area of the field, and that was a nice advantage to have."

Bottomly, who missed most of his sophomore season due to injury, bounced back a year ago to start 18 of 19 games and earn All-NWC Honorable Mention recognition. He was Whitman's second-leading scorer last season.

Sam Freedman

Freedman, a speedy midfielder, was Whitman's second-leading scorer this season with eight goals and two assists. He put 19 of his 35 shots (54.3 percent on goal) during the season and had a hand (head or foot) in some of Whitman's more dramatic victories.

Freedman (Bainbridge Island, Wash.; Bainbridge HS) hit the game-winning shot in a 1-0 victory at Whitworth, connecting on a sharp angle from the end line. He also rose in the air to block home a left-footed shot with just 12 seconds left in a 1-0 victory at Pacific Lutheran, and his header was the game-winner in a season-ending triumph over Whitworth.

Freedman also got assist on Crosby's game-winning header against Pacific.

"I really thought Sam earned a spot on the all-conference first team, but it's good to see him make the second team," Washington said. "Sam is so strong and so fast. I don't think he even realizes how good he is."

Matthaeus and Percival, Whitman's two players on the Honorable Mention list, also played key roles in the team's success this year, Washington said.

Matthaeus (Redmond, Wash.; Sammamish HS), a forward, was Whitman's third-leading scorer with five goals and five assists. Three of his five goals were game-winning strikes, which tied him with Freedman for the team lead in that statistical category.

Brian Percival
Leland Matthaeus

Matthaeus, who topped Whitman's offensive players in minutes played, finished second in the NWC in total shots taken with 56 in 20 games. His game-winning goals came against Puget Sound, George Fox and Minnesota's Bethel University (non-conference).

Matthaeus got off to a good start at Whitman a year ago as a freshman, contributing two assists while starting three of his first six games. A knee injury, however, then ended his freshman season.

In his second season as a starting outside defender, Percival was one of only four players on the team to log more than 1,500 minutes of playing time. He helped preserve a 1-0 victory over Whitworth late in the season by stopping a Pirate break-away.

Percival (Seattle, Wash.; Seattle Prep) also contributed four assists to the offense. One of the four set up the game-winning goal against Linfield.

Percival played in 19 games a year ago as a sophomore, starting 16. He had two game-winning goals and one assist that season.

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CONTACT: Dave Holden,
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.; (509) 527-5902