Missionary women blank Bearcats, face No. 1 Linfield in finale

Monday, Oct 29, 2012

SALEM, Ore. — The Whitman College women’s soccer team secured its fifth victory of the season here Sunday, outdueling Willamette University 1-0 in a Northwest Conference match.

Junior MacKenzie Hughes (Woodinville, Wash.), with an assist from freshman Clara Merlino (Seattle), scored the winning goal at 58:54 and the Missionary defense made it stand up over the remaining 31 minutes of play.

Junior Emily Davis (Eagle River, Ark.) went the distance in goal and was only required to make two saves as she posted the shutout.

Whitman outshot Willamette 9-4 in the defensive battle. Bearcats goalkeeper Nicole Price saved one of Whitman’s two shots on goal.

Whitman coach Heather Cato was pleased with the victory, which came one day after the Missionaries suffered a 1-0 loss at Lewis & Clark.

“That was a little bit better,” Cato said of Sunday’s victory. “But still, it’s been a long, rough season.

“We talk about playing for pride, pride in the program and pride in ourselves. The numbers in the standings aren’t good, but we still have a chance to be fifth, which is higher than the last two years.”

The Missionaries improved their record to 4-8-3 in the conference and 5-11-3 overall while Willamette dropped to 3-10-1 and 5-12-1.

Whitman closes out its season at home Friday when it entertains Linfield, which shares the NWC lead with Whitworth, both clubs at 10-2-2. Linfield then finishes up its regular season at Whitworth on Saturday.

“We’ve got a chance to beat the No. 1 team Friday,” Cato said. “That would mean a lot. It would be a positive note going into the off season, and it would also leave the seniors with a little bit better taste in their mouths.

“It’s also a chance to win two games in a row, which we haven’t done this season. That would be a big thing for us, huge for our confidence and to show the players that if you continue to battle and continue to work, it will happen, that is hasn’t been all for nothing.”