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Sept. 30, 2008

MEN'S SOCCER: Lutes Return Home Looking for NWC Win

THIS WEEK: Pacific Lutheran hosts George Fox, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.; Pacific Lutheran hosts Willamette, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

LUTES TRY TO REBOUND AT HOME: After four straight matches away from Parkland, the longest road stretch of the season, the Lutes (0-2-1) try to bounce back at home. After losing two straight last weekend, the Lutes look ahead to two more Northwest Conference foes, George Fox (0-1-2) and Willamette (1-2).

ABOUT THE BRUINS: George Fox, which is 1-5-3 overall, also enters the Saturday match as a winless team in conference play. The Bruins have a very balanced team as eight players have scored at least one goal each, with Brennan Altringer and Jon Maroni getting two apiece to lead the team. The key to a win against the Bruins may well be taking advantage a defense that allows two goals per match.

ABOUT THE BEARCATS: The Bearcats, 2-5-0 overall, enter this weekend's match with one win in conference play. The Bearcats have a scoring threat in Erik Kaufman who has five goals so far this season. It is no surprise that the key to this game is finding some way to contain him and forcing other players to score, because the Bearcats have only seven goals in seven matches this season while allowing 13.

TOUGH ROAD: Whitman goalkeeper Brett Axelrod recorded his fourth shutout of the season and the Missionaries took sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference with a 2-0 men's soccer victory over Pacific Lutheran on Saturday afternoon at the Whitman Athletic Fields. Whitman had lost its last four games to Pacific Lutheran by the same 1-0 score and had not beaten the Lutes since October of 2001. Whitman out-shot Pacific Lutheran 17-11 for the game, although the Lutes finished with a 6-3 edge in shots on goal. Caleb Barnhill's league-leading seventh goal of the season lifted Whitworth, ranked No. 8 in the country, to a 3-2 win over visiting PLU in a conference game played Sunday in Spokane. The Lutes got goals from Jason Bjorgo and Derek Karamatic, the latter on a penalty kick. The hard-fought match was a virtual draw in every statistic but the final score. Each team had 13 total shots and each put seven of those on goal. Both finished with five corner kicks.

LUTES BY THE NUMBERS: The Lutes are looking for a breakout game on offense. Of their 11 goals in eight matches this season, six came in a victory over Saint Mary's (Minn.). Ricky Morales, Daniele Zaccagnini and Spencer Augustine still remain atop the Lutes' goal-scoring tally with two apiece, but Morales and Zaccagnini scored both of their goals against Saint Mary's. PLU also hopes to tighten up a defense that has allowed 12 goals this season.

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