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November 1, 2011

The Fight to Finish Strong

THIS WEEK: Before the Lutes can call it a wrap, they have their last two games this weekend in Oregon. These two games will give the five graduating seniors honored last Saturday a final shot at victory. The Lutes will head down to Oregon Thursday evening, where they will face George Fox on Friday, and Linfield on Saturday. Both matches will start at noon in Oregon.

SIZING UP AGAINST THE BRUINS: Last time the Lutes faced the Bruins they claimed a victory, ending a six-match losing streak at the time. The match ended in overtime with a goal by frosh Sarah Gamache. Gamache ran onto Karli Hurlbut's through ball, got off a shot that was stopped at point blank range by sliding George Fox keeper Alyssa Montero, and then stepped past the prone Montero to knock the ball into the open goal. The Bruins are sitting on a 2-9-3 conference record, 2-11-5 overall. Their record puts them seventh in the conference, just above the Lutes. This last weekend they faced Willamette and Puget Sound, losing to both teams at home. The Bruins returned seven starters this year, having lost four from last season. Junior Melanie Gaither and Sophomore Alyssa Montero both received All-NWC Honorable Mention last year. Both girls have returned with a fire much like last season's; Gaither has scored eight goals and assisted in two others. Montero is holding the back line together with a goals against average of 1.49, and 117 saves this season. The Lutes will be the last match this season for the Bruins, they face Lewis and Clark tomorrow at 7:00pm.

IN THE JUNGLE WITH THE WILDCATS: The Lutes last faced Linfield in October at home, and came out with a 3-1 loss. Gamache scored a rare first half goal for the Lutes in the 25th minute. The Lutes followed the goal with stretches of good possession and solid play entering the half with a 1-0 lead, though the 'Cats did squander a couple of very good chances in the opening 45 minutes. After out-shooting the Lutes by a 10-3 margin in the opening half, Linfield had much of the possession in the final period, as indicated by a 15-3 advantage in shots. Anna Sours, Zoe Langsdorf and MacKenzie Doty scored in the second half, all three goals being score in a 15 minute period. The Wildcats hold a 10-2-2 conference record, 13-3-2 overall. Their first loss came in preseason against Corban University, 1-0. The second loss was early on in the season to Willamette, 3-1. Linfield faced the Bearcats once more and won 1-0. Their third and final loss came recently to Puget Sound with a final score of 1-0. The Loggers and the Wildcats are tied for first in the NWC standings. Last weekend the Bearcats faced Whitworth and Whitman coming out victorious in both matches. Before the Lutes this weekend, Linfield will face Pacific on Friday. With these final two games the Bearcats hope to improve their record and cinch their entrance to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.

PUGET SOUND 2, PLU 0: The Loggers (11-3-2 overall, 9-2-2 NWC) took over first place in the Northwest Conference standings with the win. Pacific Lutheran (4-11 overall, 3-10 NWC) dropped into eighth place in the conference standings with the defeat, its 27th in a row to the Loggers dating back to 1998. Abby Goss scored the Loggers first goal in the 21st minute of the match last Wednesday. The Lutes had only one shot in the first half, turning a counter attack in the 22nd minute into Mimi Granlund's well-struck drive that found the right side netting. Keeper Lauren Chambard had ten saves in the match, well done for the barrage of shots took at her by the Loggers. PLU's best scoring opportunity came with about 15 minutes remaining when Granlund lofted a perfect pass into space behind the Puget Sound defense. Karli Hurlbut beat Kara Merfeld to the ball and chipped it over the prone UPS keeper, but instead of rolling into the goal the ball frustratingtly found the right post. That was as close as the Lutes came all day to scoring as they were out-shot, 22-4, including 12 shots on goal for the Loggers to none for the Lutes. Puget Sound also had 12 corner kicks to none for PLU. On one of those corners taken by Kylie Beeson, the Loggers padded their lead to 2-0 when Christina Isabella rose above the defense to head the ball over Chambard and into the back of the net. The goal came 61:18 into the match. That second goal sealed the deal for the Loggers, shutting out the Lutes.

PACIFIC 1, PLU 0: The visiting Pacific Boxers defeated Pacific Lutheran, 1-0, in a Northwest Conference women's soccer match played on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the PLU field. Shekema McCarthy scored the only goal of the match, set up by Jordan Bodily, with just under 14 minutes remaining. Except for some recent hard luck and a crossbar, senior midfielder Karli Hurlbut and the Lutes would have tied the score with about 10 minutes remaining. Following a Pacific foul, Hurlbut, one of five seniors honored prior to the match, struck a free kick that hit the underside of the cross bar just inches away from going into the goal. The Lutes managed just seven shots in the match to 16 for the Boxers, who put seven of those on frame. PLU keeper Lauren Chambard, another one of the seniors, recorded five of her six saves in the first half as Pacific fired 10 shots at the PLU goal. With the win, Pacific improved its overall record to 9-5-3 and its conference mark to 6-4-3.

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