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September 9, 2009

Lutes Take 2-1 Record to Spokane

THIS WEEK: Pacific Lutheran plays a pair of opponents at the Whitworth Invitational in Spokane. The Lutes face two-time defending Ohio Athletic Conference champion Capital at 1:30 p.m. Friday and NCAA Division II Saint Martin's at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Once these games are done, the Lutes will be finished with their pre-conference schedule. Northwest Conference play starts the following weekend when PLU hosts Willamette on Saturday and Linfield on Sunday.

CAPITAL OFFENSE: The Lutes will face a strong team in their Whitworth Invitational opener on Friday. Capital, winner of two consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference titles, is 2-2 this season, and for the Crusaders it has been either feast or famine. They opened the season with two losses by a combined score of 7-0. In its last two matches, Capital has recorded 3-0 and 5-0 victories. The team is led by the brother duo of Steven McCarthy (three goals, three assists) and Daniel McCarthy (one goal, two assists). Goalkeepers Justin Bultman (1.50 goals against average) and Daren Scarberry (2.08 gaa) have split time between the pipes for the Crusaders.

REALLY, THEY'RE A BUNCH OF SAINTS: The Saint Martin's Saints are a familiar foe to the PLU men's soccer program. Saint Martin's is in its third full season as an intercollegiate program. The Lutes put a 5-0 pasting to the red-clad Saints in SMU's initial season in 2007, but this is a very different team from the one that came to Parkland in '07. Saint Martin's started this year with consecutive losses but has since won three in a row, all of the matches coming against other Division II opponents. Xan Nixon has two goals and two assists and goalkeeper Zac Lubin has a 1.60 goals against average.

MINNESOTA SWEEP FOR THE LUTES: When the Lutes flew out to Minnesota last week, they figured to have their hands full against a pair of very good teams in St. Thomas and Gustavus Adolphus. While that was the case, the Lutes still came home with a pair of wins. They fell behind St. Thomas 2-0 early before rallying back for a 3-2 overtime win, and then they toed it up with Gustavus and came away with a 2-0 shutout of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference powerhouse. "We were pretty good against St. Thomas once we got rolling," said PLU head coach John Yorke. "Against Gustavus, we played very smart soccer."

PLU 3, ST. THOMAS 2: Pacific Lutheran fell behind 2-0 in the first 11 minutes and played the final 30 minutes a man down after a red card, but it still came back to defeat the Tommies in a match played Saturday afternoon at Gustavus Adolphus. Senior midfielder Andy Hyres scored the match winner, taking a pass from Surafel Wodajo and beating St. Thomas goalkeeper Carlos Castelan 6:30 into the first overtime. PLU's rally started with a goal by freshman midfielder Mohamed Bouzakraft at 38:17, the assist going to Jason Bjorgo, and Daniele Zaccagnini tied it at 62:01. The Lutes ended up with nine shots, including seven on goal, compared to seven shots, four on goal, for the Tommies. PLU goalkeeper Brian Kostol made two saves, the second coming in overtime and allowing the Lutes to stay in the game and eventually pull out the victory.

PLU 2, GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 0: Pacific Lutheran scored a goal in each half and goalkeeper Brian Kostol recorded his first clean sheet of the season as the Lutes defeated host Gustavus Adolphus, 2-0, on Monday afternoon. The Lutes opened the scoring at 36:56 on Chad Kearns' first tally of the season. Andy Hyres, who scored the match winner in overtime against St. Thomas on Friday afternoon, picked up the assist. Spencer Augustin added an insurance tally for PLU at 69:59 on an unassisted goal. The victory earned a measure of revenge for the Lutes, who last year dropped a 1-0 decision to Gustavus in the season opener for both teams. "We played very well," PLU head coach John Yorke said. "This is a big-time win for us against a very good team." The Gusties owned a slight 8-7 advantage in shots, though the Lutes put six on frame compared to five for the hosts. Kostol came up with five saves in goal for PLU, which had to fend off an 11-5 corner kicks advantage for Gustavus.

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