TACOMA, Wash. – It was the seventh shutout of the season for the Univerity of Puget Sound men's soccer team, but this one was just a little bit sweeter. The shutout gave the Loggers (7-3-5, 4-2-3) a 1-0 win over Whitworth and it gave head coach Reece Olney his 200th victory as a head coach at Puget Sound.
The victory was a long time coming as the Loggers were coming off a loss and a tie and haven't tasted victory since Oct. 3. The game-winner came in the 81st minute off the foot of Vince McCluskey.
"The difference is the mentality that we are displaying," said Olney. "We understand that conference games aren't going to be easy. We're starting to embrace that – that its going to be a grind – but that we can be the team that comes out on top in those 1-0 games."
After 80 hard fought minutes, the intensity continued to grow as it had all game. Greg Wenger started the play by crossing the ball into the box. Kyle Benson made an equally precise one-touch pass to McCluskey on the far post, who tapped it past the goalie for the match's only goal and a 1-0 Logger victory.
Chris McDonald made two saves to hold the Pirates scoreless and the defense limited the Pirates to just eight shots. However, the Loggers took just six shots with three finding their way on goal.
Kyle Novak was solid in goal for the Pirates with a pair of saves, including a highlight reel save of a Benson header that seemed destined for the back of the net.
Olney's 200th victory comes in his 17th season with the Loggers after years of success. He has guided the Loggers to winning seasons in 13 of his previous 16 years.
"I feel blessed to have been a part of this university in my 17th year now and I feel that we've done some good things to help the young men that have come through the program," commented Olney. "Two hundred wins just means that I've been here awhile," Olney said with a grin. "But I think its much more significant that this group won an important Northwest Conference game and continues to be a factor in the NWC race."
The Loggers will start a four-match road trip next week when they visit Willamette at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.