PARKLAND, Wash. – Domenico Del Prete notched his fifth goal and second assist of the 2012 season and the Wildcats held off Pacific Lutheran in a 3-1 Northwest Conference victory Sunday afternoon in Parkland, Wash.
Linfield (7-8-0, 5-6-0 NWC) held the advantage from the start, with Del Prete attempting three shots within the first four minutes of the game.
The Lutes (8-6-2, 7-3-1 NWC) countered with a pair of shots, but Grant Loriaux was able to handle both and keep the score at 0-0.
It didn’t take long for the attack to pay off for the ‘Cats. Tyler Sedlacek slotted his third goal of the season in the 15th minute to give the visitors an early lead. Del Prete assisted on the score, as the ball went in off a deflection.
Shots from PLU in the 21st and 26th minutes proved harmless, as Loriaux corralled them both.
Danny Snelgrow picked up the ball in the 26th minute, and whipped in a cross to Del Prete. The striker got his foot on the ball and doubled Linfield’s lead with a shot into the back of the net.
Loriaux continued to anchor the back for the ‘Cats, making another save and keeping the defense organized through a PLU corner kick. Four straight shots from the Lutes closed out the first half, but none resulted in a goal. Loriaux was kept busy, making seven saves in the first period. The ‘Cats made their shots count, taking only five compared to 13 from the Lutes.
Linfield kept its foot on the gas coming out of the break, and it took just three minutes for the ‘Cats to strike again. Tyler Repic took a shot from the six-yard box to give Linfield a 3-0 lead.
The teams exchanged possession over the next ten minutes. Lutes keeper Joe Rayburn made his second save of the match on a shot from Jake Baker in the 55th minute.
Offensively, PLU refused to give up, and when a cross was sent into the Wildcats’ box in the 66th minute, the ball was deflected into the net on an own goal.
Three consecutive shots in the 74th minute by the Lutes provided a brief moment of stress, however Loriaux handled the first two and the third missed high.
Both teams became more physical as the match wore on, and by the end of 90 minutes the teams had combined for a total of 23 fouls.
Two more shots – one each from Emmanuel Amarh and Derek Johnson – proved harmless in the 85th minute, and the ‘Cats closed out the final five minutes with solid defense. Loriaux made 11 saves on the game, and helped keep the Wildcats’ hope for an above-.500 season alive.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The win marked the Wildcats’ first in Parkland since Sept. 19, 2010, when Linfield beat PLU 3-2…Del Prete became the Wildcats’ second player to reach double-digits in the points category (13), joining Baker (14)…the ‘Cats have scored at least two goals in every win this season.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Who holds the record for most career points in Linfield men’s soccer history? (Answer in next week’s game story).
NEXT UP: Linfield returns home for the first time since Oct. 6. The ‘Cats take on Whitman next Saturday and Whitworth the following day, with both games starting at 2:30 p.m.