Looking to end a 27-match losing streak to their cross-town rivals, Pacific Lutheran caught Puget Sound off guard in the first half with two early goals on Sept. 13 and seemed headed for a win. And even though the 10-time defending conference champ Loggers battled back with two late goals to earn a 2-2 draw, the Lutes showed they are a different team than the recent past.
“We’re obviously very happy with the overall result,” said first-year Pacific Lutheran head coach Seth Spidahl. “We took eighth out of ninth place last year, so we’re just trying to improve...for us to be in the game and competitive was a real step forward.”
The Lutes struck quickly, as senior Mimi Granlund stole a pass near midfield and sent a beautiful through ball to true freshman forward Lauren Larson – a Curtis High grad – who drove a shot past keeper Casey Thayer for a 1-0 lead. Larson struck again eight minutes later, taking a pass from sophomore Stadium High grad Hannah Bush and sliding to strike it into the right netting to make it 2-0.
“She’s done great for us,” said Spidahl of Larson. “She’s a real threat, a very direct player and will get to goal…she’s going to be a good one for us.”
While the Loggers had several shots go off the crossbar later in the half, Lutes keeper Marisa Gonzalez also came up big in preserving the 2-0 lead. Gonzalez blocked a header from Kylie Beeson in the 37th minute and also deflected out a follow-up shot, and later tipped a shot from Cassie Winter just over the bar in the 42nd minute.
“Give PLU full credit,” said Puget Sound head coach Randy Hanson. “They came out, and regardless of how the game was going, they did a good job of getting two early goals. Their coach has been putting a little belief into them and has done a good job.”
It looked as if the Loggers’ bad luck was going to continue in the second half, as Liz Blonden’s shot from 10 yards out was off the crossbar in the 47th minute and Beeson’s header 15 minutes later off a cross from Robin Vieira went just right.
But the Loggers finally got on the board in the 71st minute, when Haley Rosenberg’s corner found the head of Amalia Acorda-Fey in the far post, and the true freshman knocked it in to halve the deficit. The Loggers then equalized in the 83rd minute, as Theresa Henle ran down a long pass on the right side and sent a chip to the far post, where Vieira was waiting to drive a shot into the net.
“As far as the resilience and the comeback, it was great,” Hanson said. “It’s a credit to us to have that fight in us to come back and keep at it at the end.”
The game went to extra time, where the Loggers had a good look to win it in the 17th minute, but Rosie Jaye’s shot bounced off the right bar and into the arms of Gonzalez. The Loggers held a 28-11 shot advantage in the match, as Gonzalez tallied nine saves for the Lutes.
“Certainly UPS attacked a lot today, we defended a lot today,” Spidahl said. “We had to hold on a lot. All in all, based on the shots we had to face, the corners we had to face, we’re very happy with it.”