MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – In fierce competition Saturday, the Linfield women’s soccer team lost to Willamette’s Bearcats in the Wildcats’ fourth Northwest Conference match of the season. A physical match resulted in hard-fought victory for Willamette, who earned a 3-1 win with two goals from Stephanie Skelly.
Linfield was missing key player Emily Fellows (Jr., Portland, Ore.), who is sidelined with an injury, but the teams appeared at first to be evenly matched.
The first half was close, with only three shots from Willamette and five from Linfield. Wildcat forwards Madisen Stewart (Soph., Spokane, Wash.) and Zoe Langsdorf (Soph., Vancouver, Wash.) worked together to make a spectacular shot that was unfortunately nullified by an offside call as the ball landed in the net.
The second half came with considerably more excitement: Linfield made four shots in the first 15 minutes alone, though all were saved by the Bearcats’ keeper, Gina Barbieri. Later, three corner kicks in rapid succession from Langsdorf still yielded no score.
In the 68th minute, Willamette forward Stephanie Skelly wove in and around Linfield’s defense to put the ball away for the game’s first score. Minutes later, teammate Sarah Desautels took one powerful kick and sank another deep into Linfield’s net despite a great effort from Linfield keeper Apolonia Martinez to knock the ball away, making the score 2-0 in Willamette’s favor.
With 19 minutes left in the half, Linfield’s MacKenzie Doty took full advantage of a hardly-defended goal to score and put Linfield on the board. The pace only picked up from there, as momentum built with more and more shots and several near misses from both sides.
With only six minutes remaining, Willamette’s Skelly scored again off an assist from Desutels, making it a 3-1 game. Though Linfield dug deep and shot at every opportunity for the rest of the game, the Wildcats were unable to score again.
In all, Linfield took 19 shots to Willamette’s 9.
Willamette comes away with a 3-4-1 record overall and 2-1-1 in the NWC. Linfield is now 5-2-1 with a 2-1-1 standing in the NWC.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Wildcats face Whitman’s Missionaries in McMinnville next Saturday beginning at noon.
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