McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Emily Fellows knocked home a pair of goals as Linfield earned a hard-fought 2-0 victory over George Fox in a Northwest Conference match Sunday afternoon at the Linfield soccer field.
Linfield, ranked 23rd according to d3soccer.com, showed it had complete control of the pace early on, as the Bruins’ only touches on the ball were to clear it out of the back.
It was only a matter of time before Linfield’s attack paid off. A long ball from Anna Sours found the foot of Fellows, who beat a pair of defenders and scored in the 17th minute.
After taking the early 1-0 lead, the ‘Cats (6-0, 2-0 NWC) kept the pressure on the George Fox back line. A cross from Madisen Stewart got to Fellows, but her header rattled off the cross bar.
With 18 minutes to play, another scoring threat emerged for the ‘Cats in the form of a direct free kick just outside the Bruins’ 18-yard box. Fellows struck the ball strongly, but a well-organized wall of Bruins knocked the shot down.
George Fox (1-4-2, 0-3 NWC) dodged several bullets right before the half, as the ‘Cats kept the pressure on Bruins goalkeeper Alyssa Montero. The Wildcats won a corner kick in the 35th minute, but a header by Stephanie Socotch missed just over the bar on the cross from Zoe Langsdorf.
Overall in the first, Linfield out shot George Fox 14-1, and forced Montero to make four saves. Wildcats keeper Taylor Collinsworth was protected well, with Lauren Pyrch and Emily Allison anchoring a solid back line.
Linfield nearly doubled its lead in the opening minutes of the second, as the ball rattled around the Bruins’ 18-yard box before Montero took possession.
A yellow card on George Fox with 34 minutes to play gave the ‘Cats a direct free kick from the left side of the field. Stewart sent in a cross, to Fellows, but Montero saved it and Julia Vaughan could not finish the rebound.
The Bruins’ offense came alive with 20 minutes to play, as the ‘Cats defense felt heavy pressure for the first time all match. Collinsworth knocked a cross out and prevented a potential tying goal.
Both teams pressed forward through the final minutes and created scoring opportunities. Several crosses from the ‘Cats in the closing minutes were knocked around the box, but none made it into the back of the net.
Finally, with one minute remaining, Fellows capped off the victory by finishing a corner kick from Stewart to make the score 2-0. It was Fellows' team- and conference-leading ninth goal of the season.
The ‘Cats out-shot George Fox on the game 33-1, and won five corner kicks. Montero recorded nine saves for the Bruins, who were playing their third game in five days.
‘CAT SCRATCH: With the victory, the Wildcats earned their best start in team history at 6-0…Linfield’s 2003 squad held the previous record at 5-0…Fellows has nine goals through five games to lead the conference…Collinsworth recorded her fourth career shutout...the Wildcat defense has allowed just one goal so far this season.
AHEAD: Linfield travels to Tacoma, Wash., to take on defending conference champion Puget Sound next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.