Kurtis Williams – For the Review. After back-to-back-to-back six-win seasons, the women’s soccer team assured its first winning season since 2002 with a 3-2 overtime win against George Fox University on Nov. 6.
Linfield found the net twice in the first half with goals from freshman Anna Sours and junior Rachel Miles. Miles’ goal was assisted by senior MacKenzie Doty.
With a 2-0 deficit at halftime, George Fox attempted to get on the board. The Bruins tied the game in the first four minutes of the second half.
Linfield put a single shot on goal in the second half while George Fox forced junior goalkeeper Kelsey Hasselblad to save five shots. She made 10 stops throughout the game.
In the second overtime, junior Rennika Doty reared back and fired a shot past the Bruin goalkeeper to win the match.
The ’Cats moved to 10-8-1 overall, securing a winning season.
If the game had ended in a tie, Linfield would have needed to defeat the eight-time defending Northwest Conference champion University of Puget Sound on Nov. 7.
Against UPS, Linfield showed grit, trying to upset the highly touted Loggers. The game was decided, however, on a UPS penalty kick, lifting the Loggers to victory 1-0.
“It was a battle,” MacKenzie said. “We played them pretty evenly. They got fortunate to get a [penalty kick] in the second half.”
Linfield players said the call was touchy, but head coach Dominic Doty said it did not take away from the game.
“It was a good performance,” he said. “[The team], for 90 minutes, played hard. [The penalty call] was hard for me to see; I was 60 yards away. But the game was a lot closer than the stat sheet showed.”
The statistics Dominic mentioned were the 15 shots for UPS versus two from the ’Cats. He attributed some Logger chances to poor weather conditions that left standing water on the field.
Despite the loss, the team’s expectations for next season are high, Dominic said. The squad will lose only one senior, Kara Fertello, to graduation.
One of the key contributors is MacKenzie, who led the team with 12 goals, four assists and finished third in goals and fourth in points (20) in the NWC.
“She brought us a goal scorer,” Dominic said. “It’s always nice to have one of those players on your team, and obviously it comes from a lot of help from her teammates putting her in the right position.”
MacKenzie was also quick to praise her teammates and said next year should be an improvement.
“Many teams in conference lose a lot of key players, and I think that will help us out,” MacKenzie said. “I think we’ll be a contender for the conference title.”
Linfield led the NWC this year with yellow cards, which Dominic said are often a sign of a willingness to fight, something previous teams seemed to lack.
“I think it has to do a lot with how they compete and how they’re never content,” Dominic said. “I think it’s a testament to how hard they work.”