’Cats fall short in nailbiter

Will Hermens

Review staff writer

The men’s soccer team erased a two-goal deficit  Sept. 27 against Pacific University, but lost in overtime on a breakaway goal.

Saturday marked the team’s first league game away from home. Their early-season inexperience showed early in the first half. Linfield started off with two mistakes on defense, giving the home team an early advantage.

Pacific sophomore forward Michael Iacolucci scored fewer than 14 minutes into the game from 10 yards out of the left side of the box. Pacific netted another goal fewer than 10 minutes later when junior midfielder Kevin Fujimoto rebounded and scored off his own shot.

Down two goals, the Linfield offense helped the defense, scoring right before the half. At the 43:01 mark in the first half, freshman midfielder Kyle Wallace scored an unassisted goal from 15 yards out, cutting Pacific’s lead to one.

“We did a good job of keeping possession,” Wallace said of the team’s second-half performance.

Keeping possession of the ball helped Linfield dominate the second half of the game. After just 15 minutes into the second half, sophomore defender Kyle Brouse passed to Wallace, who chipped the ball past the outstretched arms of Pacific sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Stevermer.

The goal, Wallace’s sixth of the season, not only tied the score, but for the third time all season, the team scored more than two goals in a game. Linfield scored twice against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College and Northwest Christian University.

“We need to keep pushing,” junior defender Colin Bebee said was head coach Ian Lefebvre’s message to the team entering the second overtime game in a row.

Linfield had two corner kicks and appeared to be in control of possession during overtime.

However, with four minutes remaining in  overtime, Iacolucci scored on a breakaway. The game was Linfield’s second overtime loss and seventh game in a row decided by one goal.

Linfield had six fewer shots on goal than Pacific and was unable to convert two corners kicks in overtime.

However, Wallace’s two goals can be attributed to a formation change from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3. The change allowed the ’Cats to keep four defenders but move a midfielder to the forward position.

Bebee said the team has to try to maximize effort at practice this week in order to reduce mental mistakes late in the game. Wallace said the team must keep possession and attack with numbers on offense and said he believes the team will come out on top of the coming two games with a pair of victories.

Wallace said he believes  a win over the University of Puget Sound will get the team back on track.

The ’Cats will continue to seek their first conference win of the season when they take the field at Puget Sound on Oct. 4, followed by George Fox University on Oct. 5, with both games scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

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