TACOMA, Wash. – Linfield’s 2-1 win over Puget Sound in women’s soccer Sunday afternoon carries far more significance than meets the eye. Not only did the Wildcats achieve just their second victory against the Loggers in program history, but by knocking off the defending champs, the 'Cats now sit in the driver’s seat in their quest for their first Northwest Conference championship.
Fans must go back all the way to Oct. 16, 1999 to find the last time Linfield (5-1, 2-0 NWC) defeated Puget Sound (3-2, 1-1 NWC). The ‘Cats won that game 1-0 in overtime when a strong wind carried a corner kick into the goal.
This time around, the Wildcat win was no fluke. Emily Fellows (Jr., Portland, Ore.) and Anna LaBeaume scored a goal apiece in the first period and the Linfield defense withstood a second-half Logger comeback to remain undefeated in league action.
Fellows put the ‘Cats up 1-0 on an unassisted goal in the 15th minute. The sophomore forward dribbled past Puget Sound goalkeeper Casey Thayer and punched the ball into the net to register her league-leading seventh goal of the season.
LaBeaume added to Linfield’s scoring advantage near the end of the first half, tallying her first career goal after beating the keeper to the left corner of the frame.
The Loggers, winners of nine consecutive conference championships, made it close in the 75th minute when Mikaela Freeman received a cross from teammate Christina Isabella and headed the ball in from 15 yards out.
But that was the only real chance Puget Sound had all afternoon. The Wildcats held the Loggers to 10 shots the entire match, only two of which were on-target.
Apolonia Martinez played all 90 minutes in goal to earn her fourth career win, all of which have come this season. However, the defensive clampdown required an entire team effort.
“Everybody who stepped on the field today played with a high energy level,” said head coach Dominic Doty. “Our pace and effort were very good. It was a high-pressure game and we needed all 11 players, plus some contributions off the bench, to get the win.”
The significance of the victory over the Loggers was not lost on Doty, who at 30-20-2 is the winningest coach in program history.
“Beating Puget Sound was a big psychological hurdle to get over for our team,” he said. “It’s going to do a lot of good for our program and for this year’s team in terms of helping build our psyche and understanding where we’re are at right now.”
‘CAT SCRATCH: Win the win, Linfield takes over control of the Northwest Conference and remains the league’s only undefeated club…Puget Sound leads the all-time series between the two teams at 28-2-3…prior to this match, the Wildcats had never won or even tied in Tacoma…the Loggers are 1-2 at home this year after maintaining a 21-match win streak that lasted the duration of the 2009 and 2010 seasons...Linfield improves to 3-0 on the year when leading at halftime.
UP NEXT: The ‘Cats look to extend their win streak Saturday against George Fox in Newberg. Game time is set for noon.
Freshman's first career goal is difference
Fellows is All-American, three other 'Cats among best in the West
Wildcats keep knocking on championship's door
Emily = MVP
'Cats leave it all on the field, wrap up NWC slate with win
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128