Boxers upend league champs
- Zack Palmer
- Forest Grove News-Times - Sports
soccer -- Pacific notches its first win over Whitworth since the 2001 season
As the final horn sounded at Tom Reynolds field on Sunday, the Whitworth men's soccer team had to wrap its collective mind around an unfamiliar result - Pacific 1, Whitworth 0.
Pacific goalkeeper Jory Shene led a spirited defensive effort and Matt McDonough's unassisted goal in the 27th minute lifted Pacific (5-1-0) to its first win since 2001 over Whitworth, the reigning Northwest Conference champs and owners of a now-defunct 21-match league winning streak.
Shene's 12 saves - one off his career high - combined with stout Pacific defense, held the visiting Pirates scoreless despite a 17-4 shot advantage. With Pacific leading 1-0, Whitworth unleashed a shot barrage in the second half, peppering Shene with nine attempts on goal. The senior was up to the challenge, however, stopping everything that came his way, including a blistering effort off the foot of Chris Johnson in the 89th minute.
The win improved Pacific to 2-1-0 in conference play this year and was an emotional boost against a team that came into the game ranked No. 7 in the NSCAA/Adidas Division III West Region Rankings.
McDonough scored the game's only goal in the 27th minute when he picked the pocket of a Whitworth defender and mounted a one-man assault on goal. McDonough, a senior striker, weaved his way around four defenders and then juked Whitworth keeper Kevin Bostock for an amazing unassisted goal.
The combined efforts of the Pacific defense then shut down Whitworth for the final 63 minutes of play. The Pirates' best scoring opportunity came late, when Niko Varlamos lined up a free kick and spotted Johnson on the far side of the field. Johnson's shot was high and hard toward the middle of the goal, but Shene adjusted and made a sprawling save that wound up being the difference in the game.
For their efforts, both Shene and McDonough were recognized by the Northwest Conference. Shene was named Defensive Player of the Week and McDonough Offensive Player of the Week for their roles in snapping Pacific's nine-game losing streak against Whitworth.
McDonough also had a pair of goals in a 4-1 victory over Whitman on Saturday.
Next up for the Boxers is a road game against Linfield today and a trip to George Fox on Saturday.