Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's soccer team hopes to stay atop the Northwest Conference standings as the season begins to close. To do so, they'll need to take care of Willamette University on Sunday when the two teams play at East Field at 12 p.m.
For the PLU women's soccer program, continued success is the desired goal. The Lutes (12-3, 9-2 NWC) won the 2016 Northwest Conference crown, but they'd like to do it again and again and again. Part of that repetition is bringing in new student-athletes that can play to the level of those before them. Kari Mills stepped up to that challenge last weekend. She picked up her first career assist last Friday in a 5-0 win over Pacific University, then did again on Sunday in the Lutes' 2-0 victory over Linfield College.
"I was really excited to get the opportunity to get to play and I am really happy that I was able to contribute to my team's success this weekend," Mills said.
Like most first-years, Mills is going through the challenges to adapting to life as a college student. She stated that being a student at PLU is a much larger commitment than being one in high school. However, being a part of the women's soccer program has made that transition easier through the help of her teammates.
Adding on to the newness of Mills' life, she's an out of state student. The San Diego, California native has made the transition to Tacoma, Washington. Surprisingly, she isn't unfamiliar with the PNW.
"It was fairly easy to move here from California because I've spent almost every summer in the PNW because I have family that lives up here," Mills explained. "I chose PLU because I really liked that it was small school in the Pacific Northwest that also had the academic and soccer programs I was looking for."
Mills and the rest of the Lutes look to remain undefeated at home on Sunday when Willamette pays a visit to the artificial turf at East Field.
October 22: Williamette at PLU at East Field. 12. p.m.
Series History: Pick 'em. That's what the series has been, especially in recent years when the Lutes and Bearcats meet on the pitch. It's all tied up, 35-35-5 after the teams have meet 75 times. The Lutes knotted the series with a 1-0 win on the road on Sept. 24th with Liz Griffith providing the lone score in the 12th minute.
About the Bearcats: Willamette (9-3-2, 6-3-1 NWC) heads into the weekend riding a modest two-game win streak. The Bearcats fell 2-0 to George Fox on Oct. 8 before rebounding last weekend with a 2-0 win over Whitworth University and a 3-0 win over Whitman College.
Emmy Manset sits tied with Magee and Graddy for the league lead in goals (seven) while Shanna Keil has three goals and a team-high four assists. Kristen Barclay has handled a majority of the goalkeeping duties for Willamette, making 50 saves on the season with a 0.66 goals against average.