Muelheims Nets Second Straight Hat Trick, No. 4 Whitworth Blanks Pacific

Muelheims Nets Second Straight Hat Trick, No. 4 Whitworth Blanks Pacific

SPOKANE, Wash. - Karl Muelheims built on an already-impressive weekend with his second consecutive hat trick performance as fourth-ranked Whitworth topped Pacific (Ore.), 3-0, on Sunday afternoon at the Whitworth Soccer Field.

Whitworth (12-0-1, 8-0-1 Northwest Conference) completed a season sweep of Pacific (4-9-1, 2-6-1) following a 3-0 win on the road in Oregon on Oct. 2. The Pirates also earned their 10th shutout of the season and eighth shutout over their last nine contests.

A day after recording three goals during an 11-minute span in the first half against George Fox, Muelheims put together another stellar performance against the Boxers.

Muelheims gave Whitworth an early advantage with a goal in the third minute. Tyler Cardinale crossed a pass into the 18-yard box that was flicked on from Jonah Snyder to Muelheims for the finish from seven yards away.

The Pirates maintained a one-goal lead until the 33rd minute when Spencer Wolfe sent a high-arcing pass up and over the defense to a streaking Aaron Yanagi, who controlled the ball and sent a cross from the right side of the field to find Muelheims for another close-range finish.

Muelheims completed the hat trick in the 63rd minute, scoring off a pass from a set piece for the second day in a row. Eric Espinoza took a free kick from well outside the 18-yard box on the left side of the field, sending his kick toward goal. Muelheims broke to the near post and was able to get a foot to the ball for a slight redirect finish with two defenders on his hip.

Whitworth held a possession advantage in the game and took 20 shots (four on goal) in the contest. The Pirate defense held Pacific to five shots (two on goal), and only one shot in the second half.  

Whitworth took three corner kicks in the match and Pacific had one corner kick opportunity.

Timmy Costa, who ranks within the top five nationally in both save percentage and goals-against average, made two saves for the Pirates.

Pacific goalkeeper Leyton Thommasen made one save before being replaced by Alex Pells midway through the second half.

Entering 2015, nine players had recorded a hat trick in program history at Whitworth. Muelheims has now produced three hat tricks during the 2015 season -- a three-goal performance against the University of Minnesota Morris on Sept. 5 followed by hat tricks against George Fox and Pacific on Saturday and Sunday.

Muelheims leads the NWC with 15 goals following the six-goal weekend. His goal total ranks in a tie with John Gould (1989) for fourth-most goals during a single season in Whitworth history.

The Pirates will travel to western Washington next weekend for two important matches against Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound. The Lutes and Loggers are tied for second in the NWC behind Whitworth with identical 7-2 records in conference action.

Whitworth will play Pacific Lutheran at 2:30 p.m. next Saturday before facing Puget Sound at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.