By Brandon Adam, guest writer
Pacific Lutheran’s men’s soccer has enjoyed a strong start in conference play. They will play their next match tonight at 5 p.m. against the University of Puget Sound Loggers.
The game will be the first home night game for the Lutes - ever.
A Facebook page for the game has 106 confirmed attendees, consisting primarily of students. The game is a “black out.” All fans are urged to wear black.
In the past six conference games, the Lutes have secured five victories with only a narrow loss against the no. 11 Whitworth Pirates 3-2.
Initially having a rough start to the season with only one win and a draw in their first five games, the Lutes head into their game against Puget Sound with some momentum.
Last year, Lutes beat the Loggers 4-2 but lost later in the season 0-1. The Lutes beat their cross-town rival twice in 2010 and have topped the Loggers in five of the last eight meetings.
The Lutes were co-conference champions last season with Whitworth before being eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Redlands, 4-1.
Lutes have a statistical advantage over the Loggers.
As a team, the Lutes have scored 58 points and performed 51 saves this season. The Loggers have scored 43 points total and with 31 saves.
Though the Lutes have a statistical and recent historical edge over UPS, the Loggers are still formidable. The Lutes are currently in second place in the conference with a 6-4-1, 5-1 mark.
Puget Sound sits in third place in the conference at 7-7-2, 4-1-1. Last weekend, the Loggers fell 2-1 to Whitman and tied Whitworth 0-0. Both games were played on the east side of the state.
Junior defender Jeff Piaquadio is a player to watch tonight. Piaquadio scored the game - winner Sunday in the 80th minute, in a 2-1 victory over Whitman. Junior goalkeeper Joe Rayburn is also a player to watch with 40 blocks this season.
Sophomore forward Emmanuel Amarh is tied for the team lead with five goals this season. Amarh has also tallied four assists. Junior forward Derek Johnson is tied with Amarh with five goals as well.
The Loggers are led by junior forwards Landon Gauthier and Andrew White. The tandem has scored three goals apiece.
“We hate the Loggers and they hate us,” senior defender Shane Gutierrez said. “It’s going to be a battle Friday night under the lights. It doesn’t get any better.”