WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Just minutes Domenico Del Prete pulled Linfield even with Whitman at 1-1, Jesse Mirman broke the stalemate and opened the offensive floodgates for the Missionaries, who scored twice more over the final 12 minutes of action en route to a 4-1 Northwest Conference victory Saturday afternoon at the Whitman Athletic Fields.
Alex Barsher gave Whitman a 1-0 lead with about four minutes remaining in the opening half, receiving a cross from Isaac Sappington and heading the ball over the outstretched arms of Wildcat keeper Grant Loriaux. The goal was seemingly a long time coming for the Missionaries, who won a whopping eight corner kicks in the first period, including two in the first 90 seconds of the match.
Linfield had its first-half scoring opportunities too, including a 36th-minute header from Eric Conte off a Jake Baker corner kick that bounced off the cross bar. But Niko Contos made two saves and the Missionary defense limited the Wildcats to just six shots in all to take a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
The Whitman defense held all the way until the 68th minute, when Nicholas Autencio and Del Prete connected for Linfield's first goal in two matches. Autencio headed the ball to Del Prete, who finished off the play into the left side of the goal for his fourth goal of the season.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the tie game lasted just six minutes, seven seconds. Daniel Kim set up Mirman for the game-winning score before scoring twice himself in the 79th and 87th minutes to put the match away.
Over 90 minutes, Whitman outshot Linfield 25-11, with Loriaux making six stops in goal. In completing the season sweep of the Wildcats, the Missionaries pulled its overall record to an even .500 at 8-8-2, including 7-4-1 in conference matches. The ‘Cats, meanwhile, suffered their third consecutive loss to fall to 8-7-1 (5-6-1 NWC).
‘CAT SCRATCH: Del Prete's goal broke a 254:17 scoreless drought for the Wildcats…it was the sophomore's 14th career goal…Autencio registered his second career assist.
COMING UP: The eastern road swing continues Sunday for the Wildcats, to travel to Spokane for a matchup against Whitworth. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m.