McMINNVILLE, Ore. – The 25th career game-winning goal from Emily Fellows helped 19th-ranked Linfield get back on the victory track and erase the memory of its only loss of 2013 in a 1-0 Nothwest Conference win over Whitman on a cool and overcast Saturday afternoon at the Linfield soccer field.
Fellows scored just 80 seconds into the second period, sending a ball under Missionary keeper Emily Davis, who had dove in an attempt to break up the play, from about five yards out. The goal gave the ‘Cats (13-1-1, 9-1-1 NWC) their ninth Northwest Conference victory, a redemption win against the only team to hand them defeat this season.
The Missionaries, meanwhile, suffered their third consecutive shutout loss to slip to 8-8 overall and 4-8 against league opponents.
Linfield controlled possession throughout the majority of the first half, but inaccuracy around the goal and multiple offside calls resulted in zero goal production. Combined with 110 minutes of scoreless action against Willamette the previous weekend, it marked the longest offensive drought for the Wildcats all season.
The ‘Cats put up nine shots, but only two – one each from Molly McCool and Lindzee Baker – were on target, with the remaining seven attempts sailing wide or high of the goal.
Linfield also had a couple of scores disallowed for being too far beyond or too aggressive around Whitman's back line. About 10 minutes in, Ellie Schmidt beat a charging Davis to the ball and flicked the ball into an open net, but was called offside. Later in the half, a throw-in from Kendra Howard set off a rundown between Davis, Fellows and McCool, but as Fellows tapped in the ball, McCool was whistled for fouling Davis, discounting the score.
By halftime, the Wildcats had outshot the Missionaries and held a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks, but nothing to show for it. Fellows changed that quickly in the second period, scoring on Linfield's first attempt of the half in the 47th minute.
Whitman's only scoring opportunities came midway through the second half. Clara Merlino dribbled up the left side, looking to score, but was called offside. Fifty-nine seconds later, in the 59th minute, Kelsey Peck sent a good look toward goal that sailed wide, as did a 67th-minute attempt from Hallie Swan.
With seven minutes to go, Vukic nearly added an insurance goal for the 'Cats, beating Davis to the ball and sending a slow roller toward goal, but the ball tapped the right post and went out of play.
Defensively, Kallina Haase recorded her eighth victory and fourth shutout, though her back line prevented her from having to make any saves. Her counterpart, Davis made two stops in the loss.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The Wildcats broke a 156:28 scoreless stretch…Fellows ran her season total to 17 goals, one off her sophomore year tally…the Linfield defense has recorded eight shutouts on the year…the ‘Cats were called offside a total of seven times, a season high...Linfield gave fifth-year head coach Dominic Doty a nice birthday present: his 68th career victory.
COMING UP: Linfield's final home game of the season is Sunday against Whitworth. Match time is noon, immediately following Senior Day festivities.