FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Every cloud has a silver lining.
For the second straight season, Pacific might have thrown a wrench in Linfield’s postseason plans. A year after forging a tie that dropped the Wildcats out of a share of first place in the Northwest Conference standings, the Boxers pulled off a huge upset of their guests with a 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Park Stadium.
Senior midfielder Kaitlyn Harper supplied the game winner on a direct free kick with 7½ minutes remaining, snapping both a 1-1 tie and the Wildcats’ record seven-match win streak.
The good news for Wildcat fans?
NWC co-leader Whitworth also dropped points, suffering a 1-0 loss at the hands of Lewis & Clark. As a result, both teams remained tied for first place with 32 points, but Puget Sound – a 3-1 winner at George Fox – is just on their heels with 31 points.
Against the Boxers, Linfield’s high-scoring offense went on the attack early, with Emily Fellows (Jr., Portland, Ore.) seeing the goal twice in the first eight minutes of play. Her first try, at the four-minute mark, resulted in a save for Pacific keeper Brittany Hartmann. Her next attempt next came on a corner kick – taken by Emma Vukic (Soph., Bainbridge Island, Wash.) – but Fellows’ header was just wide.
Twenty-four minutes in, Boxer senior Sarah Tuffey gained control from about 35 yards out and charged upfield, goal or bust. After dribbling up the left side of the box, she fired off a shot from 15 yards out, tucking it in near the far post.
The ‘Cats had their fair share of opportunities in the opening period, earning a grand total of five corner kicks and eight shots, but could not capitalize on their chances. Pacific, comparatively, won zero corner kicks and scored on its only shot of the half.
After firing off six more shots and winning two additional corner kicks to start the second half, Linfield finally knotted the score in the 75th minute on a successful corner kick by Fellows.
The tie lasted exactly eight minutes, however, as Harper scored on the free kick from 35 yards out to give the home team a lead late in the game.
One final charge from the ‘Cats – two corner kicks and three shots over a span of 52 seconds – was unproductive, sending Linfield to just its second loss of the season.
Taylor Collinsworth (Jr., Bend, Ore.) allowed both goals, but recorded zero saves as Pacific took only four shots over 90 minutes.
NEXT: Linfield travels to eastern Washington for its final two regular-season games. Friday, the ‘Cats are at Whitman before a Saturday matchup against Whitworth that could decide the Northwest Conference championship. Both matches are slated to begin at noon.
Last-gasp header is saved
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