Updated NWC Standings
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – With its fifth-straight victory Sunday, a 2-0 shutout over George Fox, the Linfield women’s soccer team avenged an early-season tie to the Bruins, but more importantly, seized control of the Northwest Conference title race with five matches left to play.
The ‘Cats, 8-1-2 in conference action and 11-2-2 overall, must play three of their remaining games on the road, including a two-game road swing to eastern Washington. George Fox (2-8-4, 2-6-2 NWC) remains in seventh place in the team standings.
Stephanie Socotch notched her first goal of the season to put the ‘Cats up 1-0 in the 28th minute. She gained possession of the ball amidst a crowd in front of the goal and tapped it into the left side of the net. Bruin keeper Alyssa Montero, who had slipped and fallen on the muddy field, could do little to stop the ball from going in.
The Wildcats completely controlled possession in the first half, but only had five shots to show for it. However, that was still was five more than the Bruins took.
The closest George Fox came to a scoring opportunity in the first half was a corner kick with about two minutes remaining on the clock. Unfortunately for the visitors, the kick was placed too high and long for anyone to make a good play.
Defensively, it was more of the same in the second period. While George Fox was at least in the vicinity of the goal in the late stages of the game, the Bruins could not get a single good look at the net. Conversely, Linfield took seven shots over the final 45 minutes alone on its way to a 12-0 shot advantage for the game.
The first time these clubs matched up, the Bruins forged a tie by scoring with less than a minute to play. This time around, MacKenzie Doty provided the insurance goal with 32 seconds remaining to ensure the ‘Cats walked away with three points for the win. The senior forward took capitalized on a one-on-one opportunity with the goalie, punching the ball into the top right corner of the net.
In total, Montero faced 12 shots, making six saves for the Bruins in the loss. Linfield goalkeeper Apolonia Martinez, meanwhile, earned her fourth consecutive shutout.
COMING UP: Linfield hosts second-place Puget Sound in a key Northwest Conference showdown Saturday at noon. The ‘Cats hold a three-point lead over the Loggers in the team standings with three weekends of play remaining in the season. Linfield won the first matchup between the squads 2-1 in September.