Cats can’t stifle NWC’s elite

Grant Lucas

Review staff writer

   The weekend did not end well for womenÕs soccer, as Linfield lost back-to-back conference games against Whitworth University and Whitman College.
   On Sept. 20, the Wildcats hosted the Whitworth Pirates, then ranked No. 2 in the nation. The ÕCats were able to keep up with Whitworth as the score remained tied for more than 60 minutes. 
   Linfield took hold of the game with the first goal in the 64th minute with some dynamic teamwork. Sophomore Rachel Miles lofted a pass from the right wing to freshman Sarah Walton, who laid the ball up for senior Steph Caster, who was able to slip the ball past the keeper and into the net.
   Whitworth battled back and fought hard for a quick equalizer. Sophomore Emily Rohde dribbled down the right, eventually dropping the ball back for senior Penelope Crowe. She attempted a shot, but it sailed wide.
   The Pirates had another scoring opportunity shortly after when sophomore Kaylyn Plumb ripped a shot from the top of the 18-yard box.
   Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Hasselblad reacted quickly and tipped the ball off the crossbar. The rebound was prompty cleared by Linfield’s defense.
   Whitworth’s persistence finally paid off in the 89th minute when Crowe lofted a free kick past Hasselblad into the net for the equalizer.
   The Pirates tallied the winning goal just five minutes into overtime when senior Whitney Ramsey received a pass from senior Kara Tisthammer. Ramsey fired a low shot that slid by Hasselblad.
   Though the loss was disheartening, Hasselblad set a new single-match record for Linfield as she made an incredible 17 saves.
   “We knew they were the No. 2 team in the nation, and we had nothing to lose,” senior Kate Franklin said. “We came into the game focused and controlled the ball well.”
   Though the Wildcats managed the ball for most of the game, they were outshot by the Pirates 27-8.
   After the tough loss to Whitworth, the Cats needed to prepare for another conference game the next day against the Whitman Missionaries.
   As the score remained deadlocked, Linfield and Whitman exchanged missed shots.
   Missionary junior Corina Gabbert broke the tie just before the end of the first half as she unleashed a low shot from the top of the 18-yard box that made its way into the back of the net.
   In the 64th minute, Gabbert tallied her second goal as she headed a cross from senior Jennifer Doane into the net.
   She was not done there. In the 69th minute, she received the ball on the right side and fired a shot to the far post. The kick deflected off Hasselblad and into the net, completing Gabber’s that trick.
   “We played our hearts out against Whitworth and, unfortunately, it didnÕt end the way we wanted it to,” Caster said. “We didn’t come out ready to play against Whitman, and it cost us
the game.”
   The losses to Whitworth and Whitman dropped Linfield”s overall record to 2-4 and 0-2 in conference play.
   “We learned how well we can play when we are all playing as one cohesive unit,” Caster said. “We also learned how bad we can play if we don’t play as a team. This weekend was a good learning experience.”
The Wildcats prepare for another full weekend of conference matches as they travel to Forest Grove to battle Pacific University on Saturday and host Lewis & Clark College on Sunday.” Caster said. “We also learned how bad we can play if we don’t play as a team. This weekend was a good learning experience.”
The Wildcats prepare for another full weekend of conference matches as they travel to Forest Grove to battle Pacific University on Saturday and host Lewis & Clark College on Sunday.

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