TACOMA - Pacific Lutheran made it five Northwest Conference victories in a row on Saturday and held on to at least a share of the league lead with a 4-2 victory over the host Puget Sound Loggers at Peyton Field.
Spencer Augustin continued his scoring binge with two goals and Lucas McCallum and Chad Kearns added a goal apiece as the Lutes, ranked 24th in Division III soccer, improved to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference. Puget Sound came into the game tied atop the NWC standings with the Lutes and Whitworth, but with the loss it dropps to 6-4 overall and 5-2 in the league table.
Depending on the result of a Saturday afternoon match featuring Whitworth at Whitman, the Lutes will either be the outright conference leaders, or they will be in a tie with Whitworth.
Augustin, a senior forward out of Anchorage, Alaska, netted his 10th and 11th goals of the season and his sixth and seventh in the last five matches. Kearns scored his eighth goal and McCallum had his fourth as PLU reached the 33-goal mark in 11 matches.
Puget Sound took a deserved 1-0 lead at 12:31 when Peter Russell scored on a free kick from outside the penalty box.
After that, however, the Lutes started getting a significant portion of the play and it paid off when Augustin equalized at 23:26, heading home a corner kick from Surafel Wodajo. Pacific Lutheran took a 2-1 lead just 1:11 before the halftime intermission when Augustin passed to McCallum, who beat Puget Sound keeper Chris McDonald.
Kearns, who scored 15 goals last season to earn NWC Offensive Player of the Year honors, ended a five-match goalless streak with a sizzling 18-yard strike at 59:37. Kearns was in the right spot to fire home after the ball was knocked clear following a Wodajo corner kick. Wodajo was initially credited with his second assist of the match and his 12th of the season, but that was later changed. He went into the contest ranked second in Division III soccer in total assists.
Augustin picked up the two-goal brace at 77:22, running onto a beautiful through ball from Derek Johnson and rolling the shot past McDonald and inside the far post.
The Loggers got one back at 87:47 when Sean Ryan poked the ball home in a goal mouth scramble.
Puget Sound was credited with a 21-15 shot advantage, including nine on goal compared to seven for the Lutes. PLU was more efficient on offense, however, and also benefitted greatly from a solid game by keeper Joe Rayburn. The big sophomore finished the game with six saves, and the defense also cleared one ball off the line. The Lutes had a pair of potential goals cleared off the line by the UPS defense.
Corner kicks went to the Lutes by a big margin, 9-2.
No sooner are the Lutes finished with the Loggers than they have a tough weekend coming up. They host Whitworth on Saturday and Whitman on Sunday, with both matches scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.
- PLU -