McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Lindzee Baker scored her first career goal and Linfield remained tied for first place in the Northwest Conference with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Puget Sound Sunday afternoon at the Linfield soccer field.
Though the Wildcats had to come from behind to earn their third-ever victory over the 10-time defending conference champions, the home team had the first good look at the goal.
Nine minutes into the match, Anna Sours gained possession on the right side just outside the box. Emily Fellows anticipated a cross and positioned herself directly in front of the net. When Sours curled the ball in, Fellows met the ball with her head and only a sliding save from Loggers’ keeper Kara Merfeld kept the game scoreless.
Puget Sound (9-4-1, 8-2-1 NWC) struck first with 24 minutes remaining in the first period, after winning a free kick from the left side of the field. As the ball bounced around the box, substitute Haley Rosenberg picked it up right at the six-yard box. The sophomore tucked a left-footed shot into the net to make the score 1-0 in favor of UPS.
The ‘Cats (13-1-2, 9-1-2 NWC) pushed into the offensive third, and a shot from Fellows nearly found the back of the net.
Physical play picked up through the closing minutes of the first half, and the Loggers kept pressure on Linfield’s back line. Several close-range shots from Puget Sound had the ‘Cats holding their breath, but the score remained 1-0 heading into the break.
Linfield outshot Puget Sound in the first 4-1 and won a pair of corner kicks.
High stress was present from the second-half kick, as the Loggers knocked a loose ball around the box just four minutes into the half. Taylor Collinsworth was able to pounce on it, however, and prevent a second goal.
Julia Vaughan played a ball in past Puget Sound’s last line of defense, but Merfeld beat Fellows to the ball to prevent a one-on-one situation.
After winning a free kick from 25 yards out, Theresa Henle nearly doubled the Loggers’ lead. The junior’s shot made it over the wall of Wildcat defenders but missed just wide.
Less than a minute later, the ‘Cats pushed the ball into Puget Sound territory. Vaughan picked up the ball on the right side and dribbled into the box. She struck the ball with her right foot, and the ‘Cats watched in awe as it ricocheted off of the far post and into the net.
Emotions ran high after the equalizer, as a yellow card was issued to a Logger after a hard foul.
With just under 10 minutes remaining, Fellows got the ball inside the box and sent a shot off the left post. Baker was there to get the rebound, and the midfielder tucked a shot into the upper right corner to give the ‘Cats a 2-1 lead.
Linfield shifted into a defensive formation to close out the game, and prevented any serious threat from the Loggers down the stretch.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield is a perfect 11-0 at home in 2012…the win was Linfield’s fourth come-from-behind victory of the season…the ‘Cats have outscored opponents 34-6 through 16 matches, with 13 different scorers…a pre-game ceremony honored six Wildcats who are in their last year in the program: Emily Allison, Tessa D'Alessandro, Bridget Grant, Stephanie Socotch, Sours and Christine Tamamoto.
FACT OR FICTION: In his fourth full season, head coach Dominic Doty is the Wildcats’ all-time wins leader.
AHEAD: Linfield hits the road for its final four Northwest Conference matches. First up is a trip to Newberg next Saturday to take on George Fox. Kickoff is set for noon.