McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Two second-half goals from Alex Hurst and Derek Johnson helped Pacific Lutheran pull away from Linfield in a 3-0 Northwest Conference men's soccer victory on a sunny but windy Sunday afternoon at the Linfield soccer field.
After Diego Aceves gave the Lutes (10-4-3, 5-4-2 NWC) a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute, the teams played fairly even until the halftime break, with Linfield actually outshooting PLU 8-3. But Hurst and Johnson scored in the 52nd and 67th minutes, respectively, to break the match open and avenge a 0-0 draw against the ‘Cats (8-6-1, 5-5-1 NWC) earlier in the season.
Tyler Repic and Eric Conte combined for eight of Linfield's 16 shots, but starting keeper Joe Rayburn and backup Mike Arguello made four saves in total for the shutout.
Hurst set up Aceves, who sent just the second shot of the game into the left side of the goal, giving Pacific Lutheran an early 1-0 lead. Looking to respond, the Wildcats earned three corner kicks over the next 20 minutes, but managed just one shot out of those opportunities against a stiff Lute defense.
The match still remained within reach until the 52nd minute, when Hurst scored on a never-give-up play near the left side of the box. Despite being tripped up, the senior still snuck a shot past Linfield keeper Jorge Rodriguez for his first career goal and a two-score advantage for the Lutes.
Rodriguez made a pair of stops around the 63rd minute to temporarily prevent the game from getting out of hand, but Troy-Mikal Oliger and Johnson connected on a long pass in the 67th minute to give PLU an insurmountable lead.
Though the ‘Cats outshot the Lutes 16-14 for the match, only four of Linfield's attempts were on target, compared to seven for the Lutes. Both teams substituted liberally through the closing minutes, with a total of 31 players logging minutes on the field.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Jake Baker returned to the lineup, taking one of Linfield's shots on goal…the Wildcat went a combined 0-3-1 against the Tacoma schools this season…even with seven goals allowed over the weekend, Linfield has still outscored its opponents 27-20 on the year.
NEXT: Linfield plays two final road matches, Saturday and Sunday against Whitman and Whitworth, before returning home for the season finale against Willamette on Nov. 9. All matches begin at 1:30 p.m.