Friday, September 14, 2012

New era for women's soccer begins

Lutes defeat Trinity Lutheran in game of first’s for program

By Nathan Shoup, Sports Editor

Here’s to new beginnings.

The Lutes knocked off Trinity Lutheran 4-2 Friday, Sep. 7, championing a much much-needed transition for the women’s soccer program. The women’s program is 25-63-8 since 2007.

Friday’s match was the first played on the new synthetic field after $3.5 million of fundraising.

“I think it’s great,” said Ernie Gonzalez, father of first-year goalkeeper Marisa Gonzalez. “It’s been a long time coming from what I understand but I think it’s outstanding for both the men’s and women’s programs.”

Ninety-five soccer fans witnessed the first meaningful athletic event on the new field. The women’s program hosted three scrimmages with local community colleges before last Friday’s match. The Lutes won two of those scrimmages.

Friday’s victory also marked the first match played under new Head Coach Seth Spidahl. Spidahl brought fourteen first-years into the program after taking his place at the helm last spring.

Four minutes into the new era for PLU women’s soccer, first-year forward Lauren Larson headed a cross from sophomore midfielder Hannah Bush. Larson and Bush both went on to have memorable performances. In her first collegiate game, Larson added two more goals, completing the hat trick. Bush added two more assists, hooking up with Larson once more in the 76th minute.

“I was super excited before the game since it was our first real game other than the scrimmages,” said Larson. “I think the excitement kind of helped build up my energy and helped make today happen for me.”

Junior forward Samantha Benner added the lone non-Larson goal of the afternoon, finding the back of the net from 23 yards out in the eighteenth minute. Bush provided the assist.

Trinity’s final goal came in the 83rd minute when Kaeli Eberth stroked a shot from 45 yards out. The shot wowed even some of the PLU faithful.

“It was one of the craziest things I’ve seen on a PLU soccer field,” said senior Kyle Font.

        The four goals scored by the Lutes are the most the program has scored since Oct. 24, 2009 when it trumped Linfield 7-2.

“It was a nice first game for us to be able to get out here and get a win. Hopefully it gives us some momentum to build on for the rest of the season,” added Larson.

The Lutes outshot the Trinity Lutheran Eagles out of Everett, Wash. 17-13. The victory dropped the Eagles record to 0-6 on the season.

With every new beginning, struggles will undoubtedly follow. But it is a new beginning that is necessary for a program that has dwelt in the bottom half of the Northwest Conference for the majority of the past two decades. 

Change and the wins that will result won’t come overnight, but Friday’s victory symbolized the greener pastures ahead.