Friday, November 4, 2011

Lutes wrap up record setting season

Bruins can't bear Lutes' offense, PLU secures NWC playoff berth

By Nathan Shoup, Sports Reporter

There are teams that have good seasons, and then there are teams that have great seasons. The Pacific Lutheran’s men’s soccer team is having a great season.

Surafel Wodajo prepares to cross a ball in a match against
Pacific University Oct. 2. This season,
Wodajo set the record in career assists this season.
Wodajo currently has 37 assists total.
The record was previously held by Jay Pettit.
Photo by Igor Sturpinskiy
With a 3-0 victory against George Fox Sunday, the Lutes clinched their first conference title since 1992 and Pacific Lutheran holds the tie breaker against second place Whitworth, ensuring a berth into the regional tournament.

“Being a conference champ is unbelievable,” goalkeeper senior Joe Rayburn said. “After the final whistle blew at George Fox, I dropped to the turf in happiness and just laid there thinking ‘it’s for real, this is actually happening,’ all of our hard work had paid off.”

At the start of season, the most wins a PLU men’s soccer team had ever earned was 14 in 1987. The 2011 team already boasted 15 victories, with one match remaining against cross-town rival Puget Sound.

This year’s team also has an 11-match win streak breaking the previous record of eight, also set by the 1987 squad.

“Winning 11 straight games is impressive, considering how difficult our conference is each year,” Rayburn said.

With a 15-2 record, this year’s team is also guaranteed to set the PLU record for fewest losses in a season. The previous record was five in 1994.

This year’s team has also set the school record for goals in a season with 55. The previous record was 50 set in 1990.

Forward seniors Spencer Augustine and Chad Kearns are ranked first and second in the conference. Augustine has 19 goals while Kearns has 13.

Forward junior Lucas McCallum also tied for third in conference for most goals scored after netting seven goals this season.

Midfield senior Surafel Wodajo leads the conference in total assists with 16, another PLU single-season record. The previous record was 13 set in 2003 by Jay Pettit.

Wodajo also set the record for career assists this season and currently has 37 assists total. Jay Pettit held the record prior to Wodajo.

“Getting the assist record was an amazing feeling for me,” said Wodajo. “It was a great accomplishment for the team and I’m very proud to be a part of it. It really outlined the hard work my teammates have put forth on the field.”

After the match, August was also tied for second in the conference for the record of total assists with eight.

“I could have told you that we would score and score a lot,” Augustine said, “but I did not expect us to be shattering the offensive production records for PLU.”

Augustine credited the overwhelming success to teammates working hard in the offseason and playing in summer leagues.

The Lutes also participated in the Klahaya soccer tournament before the season began.

“All of our preparations in the off-season and in training camp help prepare us for a big season, and so far it has really paid off,” Rayburn said.

The Lutes have the chance to win the conference outright Saturday when they host UPS at 2:30 p.m.