By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SALEM, Ore. -- Pacific Lutheran University, ranked 17th in the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Poll released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), remained undefeated with a 2-0 victory over Willamette University on Sunday, Oct. 2 at Sparks Field. PLU upped its record to 8-0-2 for the season, including 5-0-1 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 4-5-1 overall, 1-4-1 in the NWC.
So far this season, Pacific Lutheran has recorded eight shutouts for seven wins and one tie. The Lutes have allowed just three goals.
In Sunday's game, PLU attained both of its goals in the second half. Machaela Graddy opened the scoring at 59:11 on a header from two yards out near the right post. Graddy scored following a crossing pass from the left side of the field by Kelly White. Lauren Larson scored the second goal at 69:26, when she headed the ball into the net on a corner kick. Lena Moreno assisted on the play.
Willamette battled with the nationally ranked Lutes for a good portion of the game. Although PLU held a 14-2 advantage in shots at halftime, most of the first half was a defensive battle. The Lutes held a slimmer 4-1 edge in shots on goal during the half, while WU starting goalkeeper Kristen Barclay (Fr., GK, Kenmore, WA/Cedar Park Christian School) saved all four shots.
The Lutes' best chance to score in the opening 45 minutes was 13:02 into the game, when a shot by Kaylie Rozell hit the crossbar, bounced off the back of Barclay and bounded to the right of the goal. Barclay had another quality save later in the half, before Emily Sewall (Sr., GK, Petaluma, CA/Casa Grande HS) took over in goal during the second half.
In the final 10 minutes of the first half, Willamette created some momentum with quick attackers applying more defensive pressure and maintaining the ball on offense. Amanda Fong (So., F, Kensington, CA/El Cerrito HS) took a shot on goal for the Bearcats at 44:19 that forced PLU goalie Takara Mitsui to make her only save of the game.
Pacific Lutheran and Willamette gained an 11-5 edge in shots over the final 45 minutes. Seven of the shots were on target, including five that were saved by Sewall. Three of the saves kept the score 0-0 until Graddy earned the game's first goal.
The Lutes registered 11 corner kicks during the game, including six in the first half. The Bearcats did not achieve a corner kick.
Willamette's next game is at Lewis & Clark College on Thursday, Oct. 6. Game time in Portland, Oregon, is slated for 5 p.m. (PDT).