Pirates Defeat Blues in Home Opener

Pirates Defeat Blues in Home Opener

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant

SPOKANE, Wash. – Goals from Arielle Van Peursem and Coby Yoshimura propelled the Whitworth Pirates past the Whitman Blues in Wednesday afternoon's 3-1 win.

The win came in Whitworth's (4-1-2, 2-0-1 NWC) home opener, making the Pirates 16-2-1 on the Whitworth Soccer Field under head coach Bryan Olson. The Blues (0-6-1, 0-3 NWC) are still searching for their first victory of the year. 

'Having three games in five days is a tall task for any team and it was tremendous to see our entire group contribute today and work for another in such a positive way," said Olson. 

Whitworth maintained most of the possession in the first half of play and held the ball in Whitman's half of the field for nearly all of the match's first 20 minutes. 

The Pirates used that possession to take an early lead in the 11th minute. Kelly Wucherer sent a long pass towards the penalty area in search of Van Peursem. The speedy senior outraced the Blues' defense and dribbled past the goalkeeper before finishing her second goal of the year. 

Yoshimura added on early in the second half. The senior finished a chaotic sequence in which the Pirates put three shots on target in ten seconds, but nearly didn't come away with a goal. After Kalyn Gill's shot from 18 yards out was stopped by goalkeeper Elly Wolfe, Brixiada Mendoza tried to put away the rebound. Wolfe saved Mendoza's shot as well, leaving Yoshimura to poke in her second goal of the year. 

Whitworth's final score came two minutes later on an own goal from the Blues. Hannah Rae Miller got free on the right side of the field and fired in a cross for one of the two Pirates inside the penalty box. Before it reached either Buc, a Whitman defender poked at the pass and sent it into the Blues' net.

The goal essentially put the match out of reach for Whitman, though Sofia Ellington was able to avoid the shutout in the 66th minute. After Miller was called for a foul in the 18-yard box, Ellington rolled a penalty shot into the bottom-left corner of the net. 

The goal prevented Molly Webster from earning her second shutout of the year. The senior made four saves to earn her fourth victory of the season. On the other side of the field, Whitworth's ten shots on goal forced Wolfe to make eight saves for Whitman. 

"Moving into the weekend, we will look to enjoy the extra day of rest and preparation, and we will use it to build on our ability to finish quality chances and continue our growth in defending together," said Olson.

The Bucs continue their first homestand of the year on Sunday, September 22 when they take on Pacific (Ore). at 12:00 p.m.