SALEM, Ore. – A late goal from Ivan Colin and stellar defense from Grant Loriaux gave Linfield a 1-0 win over Willamette Saturday afternoon at Sparks Field, and a first for the Wildcats under second-year head coach Chuck Bechtol.
Colin's 88th-minute score propelled the ‘Cats to their third straight Northwest Conference victory, a feat that has not been achieved in three seasons. Linfield also pulled closer to a .500 record in league matches at 3-3-1, and improved its overall record to 6-4-1. The Bearcats (6-4-2, 2-3-2) meanwhile dropped their third NWC match.
In what was a fairly even match throughout, the Wildcats outshot the Bearcats 13-12, though Willamette put two more shots (5-3) on frame and earned six corner kicks to Linfield's one.
Willamette looked to cash in on its final corner kick of the match in the 84th minute, but Loriaux had other ideas and got his hands on a shot attempt from Tyler Yates. While the Bearcats kept the pressure on momentarily, getting another good look on a header from Yazan Hishmeh, the Wildcats quickly countered on the opposite end of the field.
Domenico Del Prete set up Colin about five yards out, and the sophomore forward finished off into the upper left corner of the net for a 1-0 Wildcat lead with 2:01 remaining.
The lateness of the goal left precious little time for Willamette to answer. Trevor Jensen's potential game-tying shot went wide left, and the Bearcats earned a corner kick with seconds remaining, but could not get to the spot before the buzzer rang.
Loriaux made five saves to notch his third career shutout. Willamette keeper Braydon Calder made two saves in the loss.
‘CAT SCRATCH: After a 0-2 start to the Northwest Conference calendar, the ‘Cats are 2-1-1 in their four most recent league contests…Linfield's three-match win streak ties its best of the year, a 3-0 start to the season…the Wildcats last won three straight NWC contests during the 2010 season with wins over Whitman, Willamette and George Fox...Colin's goal was his second of the year…Del Prete contributed his third assist.
AHEAD: The Wildcats enjoy a bye before returning home for the first time in three weeks for back-to-back matches against Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran. Both matches, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19, are set for a 2:30 p.m. start.