McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Trevor Jensen scored three goals for Willamette, and the Bearcats beat Linfield 3-2 in a Northwest Conference match Saturday afternoon at the Linfield soccer field.
Brad Dupea once again took advantage of a brisk wind, and set up a free kick right at midfield. For the second time in six days, the defender scored a goal from half field on a set piece, giving Linfield (5-6, 3-4 NWC) the early 1-0 lead.
Bearcats’ senior midfielder Mike McGrew pushed into the box several times early on, and nearly got his foot on a pair of crosses.
Willamette (5-6-1, 2-4-1 NWC) found an equalizer with 24 minutes to play in the first half when Trevor Jensen got his foot on a loose ball inside Linfield’s box. The striker beat Linfield keeper Grant Loriaux with a right-footed shot into the back of the net.
The Bearcats held a slight advantage moving through the middle part of the first half, although neither team held steady control for an extended period of time.
With eight minutes to play in the first, Willamette sent the ball into Linfield’s box, and earned a penalty kick after a hand ball was called on the ‘Cats. Jensen calmly converted the penalty, tucking the ball into the lower-left corner of the net.
Willamette took the 2-1 advantage into the break after outshooting Linfield 11-2 in the first half.
Five minutes into the second half, the Wildcats earned an indirect free kick inside Willamette’s 18-yard box. A shot from Jake Baker deflected off a wall of Bearcat defenders and rolled out harmlessly.
With half an hour to play, Jensen struck again, completing his hat trick with a spectacular shot from 25 yards out that glanced off the right post and into the net.
The Bearcats nearly sealed the game a minute later, but a header shot from Kevin Martin hit the crossbar.
Linfield battled back and showed it refused to quit. With 20 minutes remaining, the Wildcats won a direct free kick from the right side of the field after a yellow card was issued to a Willamette player. Tyler Repic sent in a cross, and Tyler Sedlacek finished a shot with his right foot from inside the box to narrow the spread to 3-2.
Loriaux held the Wildcats together, saving two close-range shots in rapid succession from Erik Kaufman.
Etienne Galbreath kept Willamette’s shape defensively and made his presence known in the box on Bearcat free kicks.
The Wildcats could not find an equalizer, and Willamette closed out the game by maintaining possession through the final minutes.
AHEAD: Linfield travels to Forest Grove next Friday to take on Pacific. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.