Review Staff Writer
After 44 minutes, 12 shots and no goals for head coach Ian Lefebvre’s squad, the first half of the game Oct. 5 was a stalemate, looking like it would end in a 0-0 tie.
But Sophomore midfielder Kevin Donato saw things differently.
With just seconds left in the first half, the Wildcats took a throw-in near midfield. A teammate flicked the ball upfield to Donato as he dashed down the left wing. Donato handled the cross, dribbled around his defenders and shot with two seconds left on the clock.
The ball sailed into the far corner of the net, just past the fingers of University of Puget Sound junior goalkeeper Greg Saetrum, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead and a shot at their first Northwest Conference win.
Linfield sophomore forward Michel Camacho said the second half was harder.
“We had the lead, but we needed to keep it,” he said. “And the wind was against us, so offense was more
The weather did not stop Camacho from trying. Linfield nearly added another goal to their tally in the 74th minute when he sent a ball flying toward Saetrum, but the shot glanced off the post.
The Loggers held their own during the game, taking 14 shots to the Wildcats’ 10. However, only three UPS shots were on target.
Saetrum made five saves during the game and junior Linfield goalkeeper Joe Locascio made three.
Lefebvre said he was pleased with the quality of his players’ performance during the past week.
“They came out with intensity from the beginning,” Lefebvre said.
But he said that intensity seemed to disappear the next day. Donato said he saw a similar problem.
“We weren’t mentally prepared,” he said. “We got frustrated with ourselves and didn’t finish the chances we got.”
The game started out with plenty of action, including six shots from the Wildcats and nine from opponent George Fox University in the first half. The first goal came during the 26th minute when Bruin junior forward Brian Story sent a shot that deflected off Linfield’s Locascio and into the left corner of the net.
Story followed with another goal from the left-hand side in the 31st minute, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead at halftime.
The Wildcats did their best to come up from behind when Camacho scored in the 51st minute with a shot that bounced off the right post and into the goal.
Within fifteen minutes, the Bruins came back and scored off a cross to freshman forward Brennan Altringer, who was open in the goal box.
Linfield sent a total of seven shots toward George Fox junior goalkeeper Jake Maguire in the second half, but the Bruins emerged with a 3-1 win.
The loss was frustrating for Lefebvre, but he said he still believes Linfield will beat other NWC teams.
“All of the teams are pretty equal,” he said.
Most of the games have been lost within a point or two, Camacho said.
“We just need a little more push, a little more drive,” he said. “We still have a chance.”
During their third game of the week, a home match against Willamette University, the Wildcats received an opportunity to redeem themselves.
The first half held few scoring opportunities. At halftime, the Wildcats were leading in shots six to two.
The second half held more action. In the 65th minute, junior defender Colin Bebee sent a free kick from the defensive third sailing up to Camacho, who dribbled past his defenders and sent the ball flying into the far corner of the net, giving Linfield
a 1-0 lead.
Junior forward Kurtis Wong secured the Wildcats’ victory in the 88th minute. Wong accepted a pass from sophomore forward Zach Hubbard and blasted the ball into the lower left corner of the net, just beyond the reach of Bearcat junior keeper
Mark Bennett. Wong’s goal cemented a second NWC win for the Wildcats.
On Oct. 8, Camacho and Wong both scored for Linfield. The ’Cats defeated Willamette University 2-0. The shutout was made possible by sophomore goalkeeper Jon Thompson, who made six saves.
Both goals were scored in the second half, and Linfield dominated possession of the ball for much of the game, keeping pressure on Willamette’s defense.
The win gave the team a record of 7-5 for the season and 2-4-1 in the NWC.
Donato said he is confident the team will add more wins to their tally.
“We just need to come out more focused and more determined,” said Donato.
He said the combination of the loss to George Fox and the two wins will give the team the determination they need to continue improving to secure their place within the NWC this season.
Linfield’s next match is at home against Pacific Lutheran University on Oct. 12 at