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September 29, 2009

Tough Challenge Ahead for PLU

THIS WEEK: Pacific Lutheran hosts Puget Sound at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and then travels to Forest Grove, Ore., to play Pacific at noon Saturday.

PLU GETS FIRST NWC WIN: Pacific Lutheran ended a five-match losing skid and also picked up its first Northwest Conference win of the 2009 campaign with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Whitman Missionaries last Saturday afternoon. In defeating the Missionaries, the Lutes doubled their season's goal tally in a single match. Whitman took an early lead on Julianne Masser's goal just 3:29 into the match. PLU got that goal back about three minutes later when Karin Hatch's cross from the right wing instead sailed over the head of Whitman keeper Courtney Porter and into the back of the net. At the 29:19 mark, the Lutes took a 2-1 lead when a cross from Shelby Daly eluded Porter's grasp and trickled into the goal. The Lutes, who came into the match with just three goals this season, doubled that number at 54:33 on Olivia Lee's second strike of the year. Lee took Karli Hurlbut's pass, tapped it around Porter and struck it into the open net. Whitman enjoyed an 18-9 advantage in shots and put nine of their efforts on frame, forcing eight saves from Chambard. The Lutes showed excellent accuracy with seven shots on goal. Porter finished the match with four saves.

LUTES FALL TO WHITWORTH: One day after the Lutes took down Whitman, they battled to the end before falling to the visiting Whitworth Pirates, 1-0. Whitworth, which came into the match ranked No. 9 in the region, got the only goal from Sara Tallman in the 26th minute. Chambard was strong in the Lutes' goal with seven saves, while Whitworth keeper Krista Dietz came up with two saves to earn her third shutout of the season. Olivia Lee, PLU's leading scorer this year, created problems for Whitworth in the first half with runs down the left wing. She had the Lutes' best chance about 22 minutes into the match but Dietz smothered her near-post drive.

SOLID DEFENSIVE WORK: PLU's defensive back four and goalkeeper features one senior and four sophomores, but their work was very solid against both Whitman and Whitworth. Sophomore keeper Lauren Chambard is the last line of defense, and she is fronted by sophomore central defenders Jordan Daniels and Danielle Williams. The outside backs are senior Meredith Newby and sophomore Kristina Snaring. That fivesome will have their hands full on Wednesday. Read on.

TOUGH CHALLENGE ON WEDNESDAY: The Lutes (2-6 overall, 1-3 conference) will have a stern challenge on Wednesday when they host Northwest Conference rival University of Puget Sound. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The cross-town Loggers come into the match undefeated in seven contests this year, including a perfect 4-0 record in the conference. They are ranked No. 1 in the country in the d3soccer.com poll and No. 2, behind defending national champion Messiah, in the NSCAA/adidas poll. Star forward Janece Levien recently surpassed the UPS school record for career goals with 59. Levien leads the Loggers this year with nine goals, while Jenny Moore has four goals and three assists and Mikaela Freeman has notched four goals and seven assists. The Loggers have outscored their seven opponents, 25-1. Goalkeeper Kallie Wolfer has a 0.16 goals against average, but the team in front of her has been so good that she's only been called upon to make 15 saves while playing 560 of the team's 630 total minutes.

TO OREGON ON SATURDAY: The Lutes play once this weekend, facing the Pacific Boxers in Forest Grove on Saturday. Unlike Puget Sound's prolific offense, Pacific has scored just seven goals in eight matches this year. The Boxers defense has been good enough to give the team a 3-4-1 overall record, including a 2-2 record in conference action. 

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