No. 4 Men's Soccer Rolls By George Fox, 6-0

Courtesy Kelly Bird, Linfield College
Courtesy Kelly Bird, Linfield College

SPOKANE, Wash. - Karl Muelheims recorded a hat trick during an 11-minute span in the first half to lead the unbeaten and fourth-ranked Whitworth men's soccer team in a 6-0 win over visiting George Fox on Saturday afternoon at the Whitworth Soccer Field.

The Pirates (11-0-1, 7-0-1 Northwest Conference) earned their ninth shutout of the season, and seventh shutout in their last eight matches. George Fox (6-7-1, 3-4-1) allowed a season-high six goals, two weekends after recording a 1-1 tie against Whitworth in the first meeting between the teams.

In addition to Muelheims' performance, Eric Espinoza and Tanner Stepp each recorded a goal and an assist while Sam Engle added two assists to help lead Whitworth. 

Muelheims put Whitworth on the scoreboard in the 34th minute, finishing a frantic sequence that began with a blocked shot by Tyler Cardinale. Engle gained control of the ball following the blocked shot and quickly found Muelheims in the middle of the 18-yard box for a close-range shot and finish.

The lead doubled in the 42nd minute off a set piece, the first of two goals scored off a free kick opportunity in the match. Jonah Snyder sent a pass from the left side of the 18-yard box toward goal as Muelheims broke to the near post and scored with one touch.

Minutes later Muelheims completed the hat trick, finishing in the 18-yard box after a through-ball assist from Espinoza just before halftime in the 45th minute.

Espinoza scored his first goal of the season with an assist credited to Engle in the 55th minute, finishing from close range just after Engle had a shot blocked.

Stepp scored a long-range goal from outside the 18-yard box in the 59th minute, finding the back of the net with a set piece shot from the left side of the field. Less than two minutes later Stepp assisted Johnny Thayer, who scored his first career goal with a one-touch finish.

The Pirates kept consistent pressure on the Bruins with 26 shots in the match, including 10 shots on goal. George Fox totaled eight shots, including two on goal. The Pirate defense held George Fox without a shot on goal until the second half.

Whitworth also had six corner kick chances and held George Fox without a corner kick.

Timmy Costa, Tony Watters and Shane Nishioka-Healy each saw action at goalkeeper during the shutout effort.

Muelheims' hat trick was his second of 2015, following a three-goal performance on Sept. 5 during the second game of the year against the University of Minnesota Morris. He leads the NWC with 12 goals on the season.

The six-goal output was the second-highest scoring game of the season for the Whitworth offense.

Whitworth hosts Pacific (Ore.) at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.