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November 8, 2011

Learning From the Past to Make a Better Future

THREE MONTHS, 18 GAMES: Starting off in record heat during preseason, with two practices a day and many "team surprises," the Pacific Lutheran women's soccer team finished its 2011 season this last weekend in Oregon. The Lutes ended up 4-13-1 overall and 3-12-1 in the conference, good for seventh place out of nine teams. The beginning of the season the Lutes won two of their first three matches, defeating Montclair State and Lewis & Clark. The only loss during that time came against Cal Lutheran, which would go on to win the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title. Against Montclair sophomore goalkeeper Laurie Reddy recorded 10 saves in her first collegiate start and Erica Boyle scored the game's only goal in the 56th minute. When the Lutes met Lewis & Clark they started their "overtime winning streak." Every conference win the Lutes had this season came in overtime. Alex Murray headed home a cross from Blake Warner with 4:56 remaining in the second overtime as Pacific Lutheran defeated the Pioneers. As conference play took off, the Lutes struggled. Their longest road trip of the season to eastern Washington was part of what would be a six-game losing streak. Whitman had a 19-10 shot advantage, including a 10-1 surplus in shots on goal, finishing the game ahead 2-0. Whitworth scored two goals within a two-minute span of the first half and also didn't allow Pacific Lutheran a shot during the entire match. The Lutes ended their drought against George Fox, again pulling a 2-1 win in overtime. Pacific Lutheran took a 1-0 lead 30:41 into the game when Erica Boyle latched onto Blake Warner's pass that was touched on near the top right corner of the penalty box. The Bruins tied the score at 51:15 when Alicia Wong's hopeful 35-yard shot rolled under the hands of PLU keeper Laurie Reddy and into the goal. Later in the second half, Reddy came up with several big saves to send the game into extra time. Sarah Gamache scored on a rebound of her own blocked shot 4:10 into overtime, securing the win for the Lutes. The Lutes would not win again until they faced Lewis & Clark a second time, this time in Oregon. Again, the Lutes let a lead slip away and were forced to score the winning goal in overtime, with Gamache again getting the goal. The rest of the season was a roller coaster ride for the Lutes. They continued to improve their shots-on-goal percentage and their offensive attack, but struggled to finish. Their last game of the season, against the number two in the conference, Linfield, the Lutes scored the first goal but lost 6-1. Mimi Granlund achieved her first and only goal of the season, while Blake Warner tallied her fifth assist for the season.

GOODBYE TO THE SENIORS: Five seniors wrapped up their PLU careers last weekend - goalkeepeer Lauren Chambard, midfielder Karli Hurlbut, forward Olivia Lee, midfielder Danielle Williams, and defender Kristina Snaring. With more than three-quarters of the roster available to come back next year, the Lutes hope to use the 2011 season as a learning experience.

PLU 1, GEORGE FOX 1: With a combined 44 shots between the teams, this was an exciting game for players and fans alike. After a scoreless first half in which each team took seven shots, the Lutes broke the knot quickly in the second half, needing just 51 seconds to score.  Mimi Granlund dribbled into the box from the right side and sent a perfect cross to Sarah Gamache, who was running toward the left post, it was Gamashe's sixth goal of the season. PLU held that lead for the next 23 minutes until the Bruins got the equalizer at the 78:53 mark. Lela Stockley, angled a shot that nicked the near post and spun into the net just inside the far post for her second goal of the year. Alyssa Montero made two stops thereafter to send the game into overtime, including a diving deflection of a close range shot by Karli Hurlbut with two minutes left.  In the two 10-minute overtime periods, George Fox took seven shots and Pacific Lutheran four, with each team just missing a winning goal in the second extra period. George Fox took 25 shots in all, 13 on goal, in the 110 minutes of action, while Pacific Lutheran got off 19 tries, 12 of them on goal. As a result, both goalkeepers had busy days in preserving the tie. Montero made 11 stops for the Bruins and Lauren Chambard turned way 12 shots on behalf of the Lutes.

LINFIELD 6, PLU 1: The Lutes, hoping to end their season with a bang, got the exact opposite last weekend. They couldn't handle the high-octane Linfield offense, which got goals from six different players. The win set a school record for the Wildcats, who ended up 14-3-3 overall and 11-2-3 in the Northwest Conference, good for second place. Pacific Lutheran claimed the early advantage over the 'Cats, scoring in the ninth minute. Blake Warner crossed the ball from the left side of the box to Mimi Granlund, who headed it into the goal above the outstretched arms of Linfield keeper Taylor Collinsworth. Kristina Snaring, back from injury, was able to play 20 minutes this game, sending in some great crosses for the Lutes. But, by the end of the first half, the Wildcats had taken a 3-1, the hosts out-shot the Lutes in the opening 45 minutes, 9-3. Linfield dominated the second half with nine shots to zero for the Lutes, and its work paid off in goals from Anna Sours in the 58th minute, Ellie Schmidt in the 70th minute, and Sara Miller in the 87th minute. Of Linfield's 18 total shots, 15 were on goal, and PLU keeper Lauren Chambard had to make nine saves just to keep the score as close as it was. PLU ended the season with a 4-13-1 overall record and a 3-12-1 mark in the conference, good for seventh place.

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