Review Staff Writer
The team had a rough road trip last weekend, losing two games before redeeming themselves Oct. 8.
In their first game, the Wildcats were outmatched against the University of Puget Sound. The Logger’s are ranked No. 4 in the country and expected to win their seventh straight Northwest Conference title.
Despite being outmatched on paper, expectations were high, senior forward Emma Triplett said. “[Head coach Yi Lin Liu] showed us game film from last year and told us we have a better team and that UPS isn’t that good this year,” she said.
And after losing a heartbreaker against strong Whitworth University on Sept. 20, confidence was higher than one would expect.
Four minutes into the game, however, the UPS onslaught began as Loggers junior Janece Levien scored from 20 yards.
In the 14th minute, UPS freshman midfielder Mikaela Freeman scored on an assist from Levien. Five minutes later, Freeman made it 3-0 with an assist from senior midfielder Fiona Gornick.
In the first half, the ’Cats were able to get only one shot off while UPS managed 13. Four of those were saved by sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Hasselblad.
Triplett said the team’s esteem was still high at halftime despite the deficit.
However, in the second half, the Linfield defense saw more of the same, as UPS fired 12 shots at Hasselblad’s goal. She stopped five in the frame but allowed two in the net.
Freeman got her hat-trick only three minutes into the half on an assist from Levien.
With substitutes in for most of the second half, UPS slowed down the game, focusing on maintaining possession of the ball and working the clock to secure the win.
In the 56th minute, UPS sophomore Kayla Boortz slipped rebound a off of Hasselblad into the back of the net.
Linfield ended the day with two shots and not much offense. Triplett said it was hard to generate offense when the ’Cats were defending UPS in their own half.
This was the first game Linfield played under adverse field conditions, and it resulted in more sloppy plays. It was raining in Tacoma, turning the playing field a into virtual slip-n-slide.
Levien is now the leader in the NWC with 26 points, 11 goals and four assists. Gornick is tied with Levien with four assists. After her Oct. 4 performance, Freeman is third in points and goals with 13 and six, respectively.
Looking ahead to playing George Fox University, Triplett said the team knew they could win if they could play like they were supposed to.
Triplett added that the team was playing for each other and trying to stick together. Despite their best efforts, they ended up on the wrong side of the score sheet again, losing 1-0 on a 61st-minute goal by sophomore midfielder Kirsten Cardwell.
When asked about first- year coach Liu’s substitution habits, Triplett said it was tough for momentum, but the experience is
“He’s big on people playing with fresh legs,” Triplett said.
She said a lot of girls were crying after the game and vaguely alluded to the fact that other issues have put a barrier in front of the team’s focus, playing soccer.
The team played Willamette University on Oct. 8, and was unable to overcome the Bearcats attack, losing 2-1.
Willamette senior midfielder Samantha Post dominated the offense, scoring two goals as Linfield’s defense allowed 25 shots.
Triplett accounted for the ’Cats’ only goal in the 33rd minute.
Hasselblad had 12 saves to keep the game close, but the offense was not able to force the equalizer.
With a conference record of 1-6, the team plays Pacific Lutheran University on Oct. 12 at noon.
The match at home is their only one of the week, which gives them invaluable time to rest up before the long haul of the season sets in.