Boxers net go-ahead goal in the 81st minute to get past Northwest Christian

She may have been the shortest player on the field, but Ashley Park-Hunt played big on Thursday night.

With the Pacific women’s soccer team trailing Northwest Christian 1-0 midway through the second half, the 4-foot-10 Park-Hunt fought through a crowd to slam home the equalizer off of a corner kick, sparking a comeback that resulted in a 2-1 win and preserved the squad’s undefeated season.

Thanks to Kamryn Plechot’s game-winner in the 81st minute, Pacific rounded out non-conference play with a 3-0-1 record heading into the start of Northwest Conference play today.

“That was actually our first time going down in a game this season, so that’s always a good test of character for the girls,” Pacific coach Morgan Joseph said afterward. “I thought they responded well. I thought it actually kick-started us, because we kind of started out a little slow.”

Following a first 45 minutes in which the Boxers and Beacons combined for just three shots on goal, Northwest Christian struck first in the 53rd minute. After the Boxers failed to clear Jacque Bundtrock’s corner kick, NCU cashed in when Melyssa Weber played a ball back to Brenda Luquin, whose shot from 18 yards beat Boxers goalkeeper Kayla Davidson. The goal was just the second allowed by Pacific so far this season.

Thirteen minutes later, Park-Hunt came to the rescue for the home side. When Lucy Almao’s corner kick made its way from the left side of the field to the far post, Park-Hunt was there to meet the ball, using the back of her shoulder to body it into the net. It was the first goal at Pacific for the freshman midfielder out of Mililani, Hawaii.

“I saw it coming over, and I was like, ‘I need to get up there,’ and I just jumped as high as I could ... and hoped it hit a part of me, and it did,” Park-Hunt said.

Having already played into overtime in each of their first three games, the Boxers appeared eager to end this one in regulation. They did just that on yet another corner from the same side of the field as the first. And in all, Pacific earned seven corner kicks on the night, compared with just two for Northwest Christian.

“That’s been another thing we’ve been focusing on, because we’ve created a ton of opportunities and won a lot of corner kicks and just haven’t had the mentality to get on the end of it,” Joseph said.

This time around, though, Plechot did. After the ball rattled around in a scrum of players, she struck it solidly and sent it glancing off a defender, inside the right post past Beacons keeper Kristin Fulbright. For Plechot, a junior midfielder/defender, the goal was her third overall in a Boxers uniform and her second game-winner.

“This whole game I was determined to get something off one of these corners, and I am one of the tallest on the team, so I was making it as my mission to try to do something with it,” Plechot said. “It was getting kicked around, and I saw it not really getting pushed out, and so I just pretty much ran through everyone and powered through and somehow got it in the back of the net.”

The schedule in the immediate future does not ease up for the Boxers. Tonight, Pacific opens its NWC slate at 7 o’clock with a match against conference favorite and undefeated Linfield in McMinnville. The Boxers will also host George Fox on Saturday and Pacific Lutheran on Sunday. Both games will start at noon.

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