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October 25, 2011

Lutes Look To Continue Success, Visit Oregon For Important Trip

THIS WEEK:  With just three matches remaining for the Pacific Lutheran University men's soccer team, a difficult road trip to Oregon lays ahead this weekend that will test the Lutes in their quest for Northwest Conference supremacy.  The Lutes will play Pacific University (Ore.) and George Fox University in their final road games of 2011.  In the past two years, each of these teams have made impacts on the Lutes' title hopes, and this weekend will give the Lutes an opportunity for redemption.  Friday's game will be played at 7:00 p.m. at Pacific, while the Lutes will take on George Fox on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

HEAVYWEIGHT CONTEST WITH THE BOXERS:  On Friday night, the Lutes will visit Forest Grove, Oregon for a showdown under the lights with the Pacific University (Ore.) Boxers.  The game is being held on Friday due to a Boxers football game on Saturday that conflicted with the soccer game. Coming off of successive defeats to Whitman College and Whitworth University in Eastern Washington, the Boxers will be up for a fight come Friday.  The losses to the Whit's takes Pacific's record to 4-10-1, 4-6-1 in NWC play, and places them in a tie for fifth with Willamette University on 13 points.  The Boxers lost a strong senior class from a year ago, including First Team All-NWC selections Mike Iacolucci, Jasem Jaihouni, and NWC Defensive Player of the Year, Andrew Stevermer.  This season, the Boxers are led by another First Team All-NWC midfielder in Patrick Murray.  Murray has scored four goals in nine starts in 2011, and has been the catalyst to the Boxer squad all season.  In the first matchup these teams had in 2011, the Lutes scored an overtime goal to secure the 2-1 victory on a terrentially rainy day in Western Washington.  The win in late September took the Lute's all-time record against the Boxers to 35-12-4.  In the past several seasons, the Lutes and Boxers have played fierce competitions, with the last seven matches divided at 3-3-1.  Last season's match in Forest Grove saw the Boxers win in overtime on a controversial free kick.  The win was the dagger to the Lutes' season and all but crowned Pacific NWC champs for 2010.  This Friday's game will be crucial for the Lutes as they look to remain atop the NWC table and drive towards the elusive NWC title.  The game will be at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night in Forest Grove, Oregon.  

GETTING TO KNOW THE BRUINS:  With a day's rest in between matches this weekend, the Lutes will take on the George Fox University Bruins on Sunday afternoon.  The Bruins have struggled to find consistent goal scoring form this season, netting only 14 goals in 15 matches.  After losing to both Whitworth and Whitman this past weekend, Goerge Fox is now 2-12-1 overall, with a 0-10-1 mark in NWC play.  There are bright spots for the Bruins, though, with freshman Luke Hammer leading the team with seven goals and one assist in 2011.  The speedy forward earned NWC Student-Athlete of the Week honors a week ago after racking up three goals for the Bruins in succssive defeats to Willamette and Linfield.  In the first match between the sides in late September, the Lutes had to fight off their own complacency to a take a 5-2 victory.  The win took the Lutes to 27-9-1 all-time against the Bruins.  Two years ago, the Bruins shocked the Lutes in Newberg, Oregon when the Lutes lost 2-1.  The game had massive implications for the NWC title race in 2009, as the Lutes lost the conference title by a mear two points to Whitworth.  With a win Sunday, the Lutes will be one step closer to securing the NWC title that has been so difficult to capture in recent years.  The game will be Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in Newberg, Oregon.  

MOVIN' ON UP:  For the fourth consecutive week, the Lutes are ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Top 25 rankings.  The Lutes are ranked No. 19 for the third week in a row despite winning two more matches this season.  The Lutes are still ranked No. 3 in the West Region behind Trinity University (No. 4 nationally) and the University of Texas-Tyler (No. 12 nationally), and have consistenly been recognized for their play over the season. The Lutes have moved up in the D3soccer.com poll, as well, going from #25 last week to #21 with their successful trip this past weekend.  The Lutes are now ranked in two seperate polls for two weeks straight.  To see the complete NSCAA poll, click here.  For the complete D3soccer.com poll, click here.  

PLU 8, LINFIELD 0:  From start to finish, Spencer Augustin and the 19th-ranked Pacific Lutheran men's soccer team had their way with Linfield, soundly defeating the Wildcats 8-0 Sunday afternoon at the Linfield soccer field.  Augustin netted four goals and assisted on another as the Lutes won a program-record ninth straight match to maintain their hold on first place in the Northwest Conference with 10-1 record in league matches and 13-2 overall mark. The previous record for consecutive wins was eight set by the 1987 PLU men's soccer team.  The Wildcats are now 1-9-1 in the NWC and 2-11-1 overall.  PLU wasted little time getting on the board, scoring three goals in rapid succession to claim a 3-0 advantage less than 13 minutes into the first period.  Chad Kearns, the reigning NWC Offensive Player of the Year, scored first for the Lutes in the 13th minute. Linfield keeper Grant Loriaux ran out to stop the play and dove for the ball at Kearns' feet, but the forward lifted his shot over Loriaux and into the net.  About three minutes later, Kearns set up PLU's second score. He took a shot on goal, which was stopped but not controlled by Loriaux. As the ball rolled away from the keeper and the goal, Augustin came streaking down the left side of the goal box and fired his own shot into the net for his first goal of the match.  Augustin scored the third goal, beating his defender, dribbling to the right side of the box, and then crossing the ball just outside the outstretched arms of a diving Loriaux. Kearns has scored 10 goals this season.  Tyler Sedlacek had a solid look at the goal just before halftime, but PLU keeper Joe Rayburn made a great save on the hard-hit ball to keep the 'Cats off the scoreboard.  Pacific Lutheran showed no mercy after the break, scoring five more times.  The fourth tally of the match came less than five minutes into the second period on an unassisted goal by Augustin. The senior's shot attempt bounced off the right post and sprung back into the left corner of the net. Augustin added the feather to his hat trick in the 62nd minute when he dribbled from the right baseline and sliced the ball into the left corner of the net.  For Augustin, the four goals give him 17 for the season in 15 matches, moving him into third place on the PLU single-season goals scoring list. Mark Stockwell holds the record with 21 goals in 1981, and Brian Gardner scored 19 goals in 1989.  Three different players notched the final three goals for Pacific Lutheran. Richard Renteria scored his second goal of the season in the 77th minute after receiving a cross from Brenden Cohen. About five minutes later, Alex Schisel delivered a free kick to Derek Johnson, who headed the ball into the net for his third goal. The final score was set up by a corner kick. Schisel struck the ball, which slid past several players in front of the goal before John Thompson connected with it on the right side of the goal and put it in the back of the net for his first collegiate goal.

PLU 2, WILLAMETTE 1:  Leaning heavily on the poise and experience of its veteran players, Pacific Lutheran kept its lead in the Northwest Conference men's soccer standings with a second half rally that led to a 2-1 victory over Willamette on Saturday afternoon.  The Lutes, ranked No. 19 in NCAA Division III men's soccer, were staring at their second conference loss of the season to upstart Willamette, at least until a pair of goals inside the final 35 minutes netted the victory. The win was the eighth in a row for the Lutes, who tied a PLU men's soccer program record set by the 1987 team.  With the victory, PLU improves to 12-2 overall and 9-1 in the conference. Willamette, which surprised the Lutes by a 2-1 score at PLU on Sept. 18, is now 5-6-2 overall and 4-5-1 in the conference.  The Bearcats took a 1-0 lead 14:12 into the match when Trevor Jensen scored his second goal of the season. He took a pass from Adan Vazquez about 12 away from the the goal and slotted it into the lower right corner, past the reach of PLU keeper Joe Rayburn.  Employing a physical brand of soccer that saw it pick up three yellow cards in addition to 18 fouls to PLU's four, Willamette kept the Lutes from getting many good looks in the opening 45 minutes. At the intermission, the hosts held a 5-2 advantage in shots.  Spencer Augustin tied the match at 55:53, knocking home his conference-leading 13th goal of the season with the assist going to Surafel Wodajo, his school-record 14th of the campaign. Wodajo broke the previous record of 13 set by Jay Pettit in 2003. Earlier this season, Wodajo surpassed Pettit atop the PLU career assists table.  Augustin and Wodajo are both among the Division III national leaders in their respective categories.  The Lutes picked up the deciding goal at 80:28 when Lucas McCallum scored from about eight yards out, the assist going to Chad Kearns. The goal was the fifth of the season for McCallum, and for Kearns it was his fourth assist.  In an effort to tie the match, Willamette had a pair of shots and a corner kick in the final five minutes, but it was for naught.  Joe Rayburn recorded three saves for the Lutes, while Willamette keeper Alfredo Zuniga had the same number. Willamette ended up with a 10-8 advantage in shots and a 4-3 lead in corner kicks.

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